Wednesday, January 6, 2016

[Actual Play] Dungeon World - The Company of the Three Kings: Castle of the Dreaming Doors, Part 2

GM: Jason Cordova

The Party
Fillion Don Dillion, the Thief (Isa Wills)
Fiona the Volatile, the Fighter (Robert Ruthven)
Ibid the Adaequatum, the Wizard (Dylan Knight)
Shar the Insatiable, the Barbarian (Timothy Bennett)

Fiona manages to cut herself a path out of the rat swarm, but has to rescue the others with a length of rope. All of them are suffering a little from rat fever after this encounter, but some quick doses of healing potions poultices or some magical healing gets them right as rain again in no time. Shar arrives during their escape from the rat swarm, which abates soon after they've cleared the room.

Shar's been on the trail of the Reekeesik cult for some time now, and informs the party that the cultists outside are celebrating the awakening of their god, Reekeesik the Rat King, and the rats are a sign of his approach into the mortal realm. He also knows that the door the rats are pouring from was made by the vampire Urbina's sister, Lugana, in order to face the Rat King and defeat him. After hearing this, Fiona shakes off an insane urge to go out and slaughter the cultists (courtesy of the cursed stone).

Fillion questions Urbina and learns of a weapon that her sister was able to create in the course of her research into Reekeesik; a weapon that could be used to destroy the Rat King himself. While this is going on,  Instead of doing that, she accompanies Shar to the chapel and together they descend the steps into the family crypt, where Fiona finds a sword in a leather scabbard with an image of a salamander embroidered on it, the sigil of Nestor 'the Salamander' Castafiel. (Later, she find that it lets out a gout of flame whenever she draws it from the scabbard.)

Just then, Fiona hears a scream from Shar and runs to check on him. She finds him trapped in a death grip by one of the mummified Castafiels and pries it off him, but ends up stuck wrestling with it herself. Shar chops at one of its legs with his axe, knocking it off-balance. Unfortunately this unbalances Fiona too and allows the mummy to get a choke-hold on her. She headbutts it to break its grip, severing the strangling limb from the rest of it with the force of the blow. Then she draws her sword and smashes it into powder.

Fillion and Ibid hear the commotion from upstairs and come down to see what's going on. They chide the two warriors for not running away and regrouping. Fiona rubs absently at her neck and claims she had it under control, before taking a gold ring from the remains of the mummy's finger. The ring has what appears to be a dial on it, which actually turns, and there's a button on it. Some sort of mechanical marvel, but she can't work out its function. Pressing the button does nothing by itself. From upstairs, they hear the cultists voices rise as they call out to their god. Fillion and Ibid search the alcoves and find a long jagged javelin-like weapon, with the name 'Rat Stabber' engraved on it. This is the weapon that Urbina told them about.

Returning to the portcullis, they see that the cultists are sacrificing owls and various other predators of rodents, building themselves up in anticipation of the Rat King's arrival. Fiona once again holds herself back from slaughtering the cultists in a mad spree.

Shar is determined to face the Rat King, which needs to be done on the astral plane to ensure the death is permanent; if they kill him on the mortal plane he'll just return to his own realm. The rest of the party decides to go along with him, and Ibid takes them to a tower room of the castle, where he prepares the ritual for entering the astral plane.

When they fall asleep, they find themselves lined up in front of the door to the tower stairwell, which has a message scrawled above it: 'Never look behind you.' Just then, they hear scratching on the stone floor behind, but choose to ignore it. Instead, they walk through the door and descend the tower, noticing that, in this astral plane, the castle seems to be suspended above a silvery void.

In the room where Urbina was, they see her in her true, Nosferatu-like, form chained, asking to be released by Fillion, as they had apparently agreed. Fillion, disturbed by the sight of Urbina, scurries off on his own, while the rest continue to investigate. Fiona finds another of the dreaming doors with a forge carved into it - behind the forge in the castle, no less - but decides not to touch it. The party returns to Urbina's cell, to find that Fillion has disappeared through another of these doors. Then Fiona feels fingers brushing her neck and draws her sword as she turns and...

...finds herself adrift in a silvery void with a silver cord attached to her torso and an astral hunter behind her, snapping at her cord to try and sever it. She hears Ibid calling for her to 'focus on the castle' and sees the castle hanging in the void before her. She swims towards it, evading the snapping of the creature and crashes back towards the castle, finding herself back in the room with the others. Fillion has returned from wherever he wandered off to at this point, looking about as shaken as she probably does. Fiona is sternly reminded 'not to look behind her' by Ibid, to which she tersely replies: 'Yeah, think I got that.'

They descend to the basement and enter the rat door, finding themselves in a large cavern. Fillion scouts ahead and a bit later they hear him returning and talking to someone else. Fiona takes cover behind a rock to lie in ambush for the newcomer - a high priest of Rakeesik - but Shar charges on ahead, ruining the element of surprise.

The rat priest sacrifices a python he was carrying to summon a swarm of rats to cover and protect him, becoming a sort-of construct made of rats. Shar drives the spear through the mass of rats and gets swarmed by them. Fiona joins the fray and slashes away at the priest's armour of rats, leaving his head and midsection exposed. With his 'rat armour' removed, Ibid takes the priest out with a magic missile blast to the face. The rats go after Ibid as the priest dies, but he manages to scare them off and they disperse.

As they progress through the cavern, they find themselves walking on a living carpet of rodents, and the closer they get to the pit at the heart of the cavern the deeper they're wading through them, until they're almost - but not quite - waist-deep in rats. Ibid spots a shelf of rock they can grapple to in order get above the rats, and Fillion hooks a rope to it just above the pit area. He climbs up it and has a good view of the pit, where he sees Reekeesik crawling up and freezes.

The rest of the party see the titanic form of Reekeesik rising up from the pit. Fiona (under the influence of the cursed stone) snatches the Rat Stabber from Shar and charges at Reekeesik. Shar jumps after her and rides her back as she charges. Fiona falls just short of its head but deals a slight blow, gaining its attention. Shar yells and jumps on the arm it's using to lift itself from the pit.
Reekeesik opens its mouth wide to snap at them both. Shar scurries up onto its head, while Fiona gets lifted up into its maw and stabs it in the palate, taking a serious wound but wounding it enough for it to drop her.

Fillion tries to leap at its head and blind it, but ends up plunging right down its gullet. Shar mounts the head and stabs it in the eye, getting it to rear up and giving Fiona a chance to get in below its jaw and ram the javelin into the soft tissue there. The two of them hold on desperately as Reekeesik thrashes wildly to shake them off. Shar gets in front of the other eye and makes sure it sees him before he blinds it completely. On the advice of Ibid, Fiona tosses the Rat Stabber up to Shar, who drives it through Reekeesik's eye socket and into its brain. Fiona leaps out of the way as the massive beast falls, Char jumps out from the eye socket and has to leave the rat-stabber lodged there as Reekeesik falls back into the pit.

At the Black Gates, Fillion meets Death in the form of a beautiful woman holding a sword in one hand and a handful of coins in the other. She offers to let him live, if he promises to slay Urbina and release her soul back into Death's clutches. He graciously accepts the offer, takes the sword, and is next seen cutting his way free from Reekeesik's gullet just before it falls to the depths.

The party are able to collect the Doors from the castle and transport them to the Citadel. Fillion has a game of chess with Urbina, taking a 'moment to think about his next move' to sneak behind her and stab her in the back. During a drinking session at a tavern on the way back, Fiona confides in Ibid that she thinks something is wrong with her, and asks for his help in figuring out what.

THE END...FOR NOW

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