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Subject: Book 5 - The Walls of Spyte rss

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Federico Galeotti
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I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good people and the bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.
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Book 5 - The Walls of Spyte

This is my final session reports of the gameplay through all of the five Blood Sword books.

Previous session reports:
The Battlepits of Krarth
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/374950
The Realm of Wyrd
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/374995
The Demon's Claw
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/375771
Doomwalk
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/375804

The session report details only one of the possible ways through the book. Depending on the choices made (from the composition of the party to actual decisions taken throughout the adventure), the book plays out in very different ways, and for the most part remains winnable at each and every step. This is one of the most beautiful and rewarding features of the Blood Sword series.

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Thorfinn Bjornolfrsson
Sixth Rank Warrior 1300 xp
Fighting Prowess 11 Damage 2d+2 Psychic Ability 6 Awareness 7
Endurance 36
ITEMS
1 Blood Sword (+3 FP, +2d Dmg, destroys undead if 2d>PA)
2 Sword
3 Suit of plate armour (AR 4)
4
5
6
7
8
9
0


Derek Van Rhyn
Sixth Rank Trickster 1300 xp
Fighting Prowess 8 Damage 2d+1 Psychic Ability 8 Awareness 11
Endurance 45 Armor Rating +1
ITEMS
1 Sword
2 Studded leather armour (AR 2)
3 Bow
4 Quiver with 6 arrows
5
6
7
8
9
0


Adrienne Devereux
Sixth Rank Sage 1300 xp
Fighting Prowess 7 Damage 2d+1 Psychic Ability 8 Awareness 7
Endurance 31
ITEMS
1 Quarterstaff
2 Studded leather armour (AR 2)
3 Bow
4 Quiver with 6 arrows
5
6
7
8
9
0


Gaia De Wolf
Sixth Rank Enchanter 1300 xp
Fighting Prowess 7 Damage 1d+3 Psychic Ability 12 Awareness 7
Endurance 27
ITEMS
1 Sword
2 Studded leather armour (AR 2)
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
0


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So, it is actually the night that the world will end. Coolest setting for a fantasy adventure ever, right? The party stands before the ruins of the city of Spyte, where the True Magi will be returning to the world at midnight, through an unholy ritual. This must be stopped, or the world will be plunged in damnation for all eternity. The first thing that happens is the first of the stars of the True Magi rising: the Blue Moon, principle of unreality. Fortunately, Adrienne uses her Paranormal Sight to see through the Blue Moon illusions.

The party has to get into Spyte itself, crossing the huge chasm that surrounds it. There are five features which could allow passage across the chasm. Adrienne explains that each one of them is associated with one of the True Magi: a mechanical bird which is a device of the White Light, a giant's corpse which has been killed by the Plague Star, a golden bridge that is obviously a devious gift from the Gift Star, a dimensional portal from the Blue Moon and some red gems, associated with the Red Death. The party decides to investigate the portal, and sees that there is a huge pile of arms and armour scattered beside it. After equipping themselves with the best of these, they step through the portal.

The four find themselves inside Spyte, but they are now stark naked, without any of their equipment except for Blood Sword! D'oh! That was why all of those arms and armour were beside the portal! After catching the idiot ball in such a way, they explore their surroundings trying to get some new equipment. They find five caskets, of five different materials: iron, gold, silver, copper and bronze. Adrienne says that bronze is the only alloy between these. So? Let's open one. The iron one contains a Black cloak. Good. Maybe we can open all of the other ones, except for the bronze. The party soon finds a Large key, an Heavy stone mallet and a Sparkling jewel.

The party then proceeds deeper into the labyrinth. Pretty soon they are lost. They are confronted by a creature with a myriad eyes, and they use successfully the sparkling jewel to hypnotise it. Then they use the black cloak to cover a mischievious faerie before she can do harm. The party then arrives in a dragon's cavern. Ooops! Let's not be hasty, okay? Speaking to the dragon, it seems that he was imprisoned here for his greed. Well, we have the key to liberate him, so... The dragon is not very grateful however (he did say he was greedy, didn't he?) and gives the party just one Enchanted blade (+2 FP, +1 Dmg), and some clothes for modesty's sake. Derek manages also to pilfer some Diamond dust from the treasure hoard.



Well, at least they are not naked anymore, right? Continuing along the way, the group enters some corridors with sheets of beaten copper along the walls, and some dangerous predators that manage to pinpoint the location of their prey through sound waves. Well, that's awfully convenient, isn't it? I wonder what will happen if I strike the copper sheets with this stone mallet... Right, they're blinded and easily dispatched in combat. And finally that's the end of the labyrinth. The group emerges in an armoury, where they can find all types of arms and armours and at last get some decent equipment. Gaia casts the Detect Enchantment spell in order to find some magical equipment amongst all the junk, and soon they have a Magic shield, a Ring of faerie persuasion, the enchanted sword Silex, an Electrum plate armour, a Magic javelin and a Magic bow. Yep, that's better.

The party heads underground, searching for a way to reach the citadel at the center of the city of Spyte. They find a vast natural cavern. Searching a skeletal body, they find six Potions of Diminution. Drinking them, they manage to get down an air shaft in one side of the cavern without taking damage for the fall (thanks to the air draft coming from the shaft). They come to a banquet hall where various chairs represent the seat of the original fifty Magi of Krarth. Only five have a lighted up crystal ball in front of them. Sitting on each of these chairs, the party gets some single-use spells: Flight, Blade sharpening (permanent +1d Dmg to one sword), Magical enhancement (maximum effect for one cast spell), Presentiment (allows to read all the entries for all the options presented at one time) and an unerring single-use Nemesis Bolt. Sweet! Thanks to the Flight spell, they get back to the cavern above.

The party decides to explore a strange plant garden at one side of the cavern. First they are attacked by snakes, then by invisible creatures which emit clouds of spores. Thorfinn and Gaia are diseased, and will lose 1 EN each new entry they reach! That's mean! The party manages to kill the creatures, however, and decide to press on deeper in the garden regardless. Finally, they arrive at the center of the garden, where there is a stone fountain with an amulet inside. Drinking from it, all wounds are healed and all diseases cured (whew!). There is no exit here, however, so they get back and try to ascend a rickety wooden trelliswork stair at one side of the cavern.

The stairs go up for quite some time. On one landing, the group stumbles upon a dead body with a book clutched in its arms. The book warns that the stairway south of the garden hall (the one where they are now) ascends to the Tower of Crystal Gaze, where the Death Angels roost. The only way to avoid their deathly stare is to cast some abrasive powder in their eyes. Forewarned, Derek prepares the diamond dust and manages to rout them. At the final landing the party manages not to be tricked by the illusion of a minotaur charging towards them behind a glass pane, and then they find their old comrade, Emeritus of Quadrille! It seems he is there to help them agains the True Magi and leads them through some dark passages. But Adrienne uses her Paranormal Sight and manages to see that Emeritus is in reality a foul creature that has used its illusions to appear like their old companion. Combat ensues, and thanks to Adrienne's forewarning they manage to kill him, even if with some difficulty. The loot he leaves behind is a Blue gem, used to summon a phantasmal warrior that will aid the party in one combat.

The group then enters a corridor where an old man (a certain Myorg of Falantar) awaits them. He says that the Magi imprisoned here a long time ago (when Spyte was not yet destroyed), and that he will not be free until someone have accomplished the five quests the Magi meant for him. He then asks them to complete the fifth and final quest that will mean that he will be finally released. Hmmm... well, it's a bit late actually, and we have kind of something to do... But it doesn't matter, because the old wizard won't accept "no" as an answer, and promptly sends the party back in time, to when the True Magi still ruled Krarth!



Well, that takes care of the problem of having to do a side quest while there are just a few hours before the end of the world. Anyway, the old man wanted the group to recover a statuette that was in a castle called Blackridden Edge. But before the party can get their bearings, a group of riders wearing the colour of the Plague Star appears, bent on hanging a refugee. Then they spot the party and, being that discretion is the better part of valour, or four heroes decide to flee among the woods. Not the most peaceful of times, isn't it? The party enters a village where they are given food and medicines, and provided with some backstory and advice. They also receive some Holy powder to be used against the ogres in the castle.

Heading towards Blackridden Edge, the party knows better than to exchange their old boots for new ones (there was also a faery tale about that). When they arrive at the castle, they are ambushed by ogres, but thanks to the holy powder they make short work of them. Exploring inside, they elect to hide from the castle inhabitants as much as possible. Derek finds a secret door in the cellar, behind which there is a laboratory with an Homunculus inside a jar. They agree to free it only if and when it will provide some useful information about Spyte.

Heading towards another part of the castle, they find a portrait of its master, which Adrienne recognizes as Onaka, Lord of the Timeless Wastes, the One who Burns. Jolly good fellow, eh? Gaia reports that the painting is laden with demonic sorcery. Better leave it alone, then. Continuing down the corridor, they arrive at a dining hall, where King Vorto invites them to partake in the Banquet of Eternal Dreams. Hmm... I don't think so. The group sits at the table, without eating, telling their tale so far. Vorto tells them of a small bit of poetry that has to be recited when faced against Onaka, but then snaps and commands the group to eat. Okay, this has gone on for too long. Thorfinn tries to subdue the King, and suddenly the illusion disappears and all that remains is a decaying banqueting hall with skeletal corpses sitting at their chairs. Creepy. Derek manages to find also a Gold ring(+1 FP) on Vorto's corpse.

They climb some stairs and finally come face to face with Onaka and its ebon automaton, which promptly attack them. Fortunately, Gaia recites the poetry and Onaka loses his ability to cast spells. I think this is the right time to use that nifty Nemesis Bolt with Magical enhancement... After a really bloody combat, finally the party emerges victorious. They find the Statuette of Our Lady of Time and a fine Yew longbow(+1 FP) with 5 magical arrows(1d+3 Dmg). The party is taken back to their time by Myorg of Falantar, which takes the statuette. Finally, he is free, but he has far outlived his own time, and begins to wither and decay. Before dying, he entrust the party to carry on his revenge against the True Magi, and passes his own strenght to them. Fine, as we were going up against the Magi anyway. A surge of power encompassess all the party members, which get permanently +5 EN. Thorfinn gets also +1 Dmg, Derek +1 Awareness, Gaia +1 PA and Adrienne +1 to healing rolls (which means that every time she uses her healing ability, she cannot fail anymore and will be able to cure all wounds - talk about overpowered).

The party climbs up some other stairs, and, looking outside from some windows they notice that the five stars are almost in conjunction! There is little time left. They arrive in a circular chamber with five doors, each with a symbol of one of the True Magi on it. It would seem a good time to ask the homunculus if he knows something about it. He says that he can reveal only the contents of one of these five door. Hmmm... I don't think so. Using the Presentiment spell, Adrienne can learn about all of the five doors at once. Resist the fear of the Red Death, combat the illusion of the Blue Moon, do not hesitate when faced with the White Light and study its patterns, rob the dead behind the Plague Star door, behind the left-hand door of the Gift Star there is a left-hand blessing. Okay.

Let's start with the Gift Star then. Walking down the corridor, a section of the carpet gives way and the party falls into a pit. Ouch! They climb out, and are faced with three doors. Okay, let's get behind the left hand one. There are two fountains. Drinking from the left one, they get a minor blessing (+1 or -1 to all die rolls) for the next two combats. Behind the final door there is a shifting monstrosity called The Anarch, which the party manages to kill, even if with some trouble. They find a Golden rod.

Behind the Red Death door there is a terrible vision of hell and the party has to fight the Harbingers of Red Death. With the aid of the phantasmal warrior they win, finding a Red rod. Okay, I get it, we're playing "collect the five rods" here. Going back, they are attacked by some fiery serpents, which drag Derek into the flames. Fortunately he is rescued as soon as the serpents are slain. Whew! Next door, the Blue Moon. The party does not fall for its cheap tricks, thanks to the homunculus forewarning, and they retrieve a Blue Rod.

The door of the Plague Star seems ominous. A cavernous slimy cavern is filled with Undead Lepers. Fortunately, no-one is infected by their vile disease, and they are dispatched with relative ease. They find a sarcophagus with an inscription identifying it as the tomb of the "Bride of Pestilence". Spiffy. Let's open it and rob the contents. Inside there is a foul woman corpse with a Green Rod. Derek, as an expert tomb robber, notices also a copper torque and removes it from the corpse. It is a Torque of Reanimation, which can be used to reanimate a dead character as a zombie. Bleah! I don't want it. (However removing the torque avoids the rising of the Undead Queen from the sarcophagus, so it's all well and good).

Last door is the White Light. Behind it is a strange creature, which Adrienne recognise as a Biophage. Thanks to her advice, the party kills it and retrieves a White Rod, then runs to a chasm and leaps out to the other side. A frieze is there, with some kind of strange chess board design, and some squares clearly marked as dangerous. Having now found all of the five rods, the party can assemble a key that allows them to travel up towards the center of the citadel.

There, the party faces some disciples of the Magi; Thorfinn manages to scare two of them off before the combat begins, and the others are quickly killed. Following the corridor, they face a mural depicting Heimdall, the guardian of Asgard, standing on the rainbow bridge Bifrost. There are some masks corresponding to the Magi colours to be put on four alabaster faces. Well, let's put in the correspondent prismatic order (as for the clue of Bifrost). The white mask is out, obviously. Heimdall comes alive and hands Thorfinn the mighty Horn of Heroes! Well, what does that do, anyway? Heimdall turns back to being a mural before he can say anything. Darn.

The party then arrives in a large chamber. How much time has passed from the start of this adventure? It seems like ages, but actually it cannot be midnight yet, or we would all be doomed! The chamber has a chequerboard design on it. Remembering the White Light frieze, the party manages to navigate through the trapped floor. On a raised dais there is the legendary Staff of Might, which Adrienne identifies and pockets immediately. How come all of these kick-ass magical weapons found their way to this place all together, anyway?

The party steps outside of the chamber and have a feeling of "timeless dislocation". Oh joy, another side trip through the ages. The party stands on an underground wharf. They board a boat and arrive at a small island, where they find an Amulet with three coins (silver, copper and gold) hanging from it. There is also a shrine to some kind of creature. They leave the amulet and the ring of faerie persuasions as offerings and then notice that the eyes of the creature are gold, silver and copper. Pushing them in the right order, it reveals an Elixir of health. That could come in handy. The party follows the river safely until its end, and then are teleported back to Spyte. Fifteen minutes to midnight... time is almost over! Just then the party is greeted by Zara the Mantis, the Reader of Minds, that prepares to kill them all with the Incantation of Fulminant Death.



Fortunately her bodyguard decides just at that moment to decapitate her. Say what? It seems that the swordsman is none other that Karunaz, the youngest son of Hasan i-Sabbah. He infiltrated the sect of the disciples of the Magi, thanks to his mad mind shielding skillz, and now he and the party have to join forces to stop the unholy ritual that will summon the True Magi. (On a side note, he also has the Sword of Death that his father left him, so the True Magi will have to face the Sword of Life AND the Sword of Death). Bring 'em on!

Karunaz cures himself with some strange powder, and Thorfinn has enough sense not to engage in a discussion with him this close to the final fight. The group barges in trying to disrupt the ritual sacrifice which will enable the Magi to get back to the mortal world. Thorfinn sounds the Horn of Heroes, which actually CRACKS the night sky (and also frees all of the captives that were to be sacrificed). The disciples are obviously unnerved by this, and they are all slaughtered before they can complete the ritual and so the five stars of the True Magi explode in the night sky with a cacophony of sounds. Success!

But, what is this? Magus Tor, the Blue Moon, seems to have survived! In reality, he explains that he was indeed killed along with the others, but he managed to create an illusion of himself... And his power is that of turning illusions into reality! But Karunaz intervenes, saying that he lives only in their imagination; if they die before he turns the illusion into reality, he too will be destroyed. So, Karunaz and the party commits suicide by jumping off the tower... and the last thing they hear is the Magus' final growl of despair. "In his final moment he desires above all else that you, his greatest foes, should not die". Wow.

So, Karunaz and all of the members of the group are dead, but the world is safe from the return of the True Magi. And the sleep of Death does not last long, for this is the Day of Judgment, and all the dead live again to be judged by their Maker.

And so it ends.
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Henrik Spalk
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Cool! These books are the best! arrrh
 
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