In this session of Ragged Hollow Nightmare, the nightmare begins! Thanks to the global pandemic, we played online for the first time. Everyone called in via Discord, which worked great. I displayed the area maps in a “maps” channel, and everything else was voice-only. But how did the party fare in the doomed temple???
Play time: ~4 hours
- Garvin the Ranger
- Thorin the Fighter
- Zard the “Burninator” Sorcerer
- Lothki the Artificer (and his metal ram) (and his two laser-tail metal scorpions)
Our heroes awoke to discover the sun rising in the east and an even brighter light coming from the west. A shining dome of golden light had enclosed the Temple of Halcyon! They went to investigate, talked to the frightened townsfolk, asked the local wizard for help, and tried to dig a tunnel under the dome. No one could get in or out. But then they discovered the bell tower rising above the dome, so they climbed up and entered the temple!
They poked their heads into the greenhouses, but quickly moved on to the observatory and discovered the cleric Sister Ruth hiding from some drunken hammers. Sister Ruth revealed that the magical dome is the Golden Veil, a security measure that she has never seen actually used before. Something bad must be happening! So the party headed downstairs…
Blood poured down the walls, full of pained faces, and screams rang out from the closed doors. Investigating some of the rooms revealed a swampy privy, disembodied chickens, bloody laundry, and moldy bread covered in animal limbs.
They also found a locked copper box, which they took. After putting out the fire in the library, they picked the golden chest and clumsily “stole” the pendant inside. They also saw a silver box, but left it alone. Choosing not to open any more doors, screaming or otherwise, they headed downstairs…
Seeing twisted murals of fairytale creatures, and hearing human-ish shouts for help, the party started opening doors. First they saved a teacher and his small students (including Letta!) from a giant witch-face extruded from the ceiling.
Then they met Squire Felicity bandaging her wounds in the cafeteria. She revealed that the paladin Lady Constance was downstairs somewhere, but right now they needed to save more children! The party healed her and followed her to another classroom where they defeated a giant Partially Dissected Frog wielding a giant scalpel. This saved a timid teacher and his sassy teenage students.
Of the last two classrooms, one appeared to be empty except for a glowing apple. The other contained a teacher fighting a student, and the party quickly realized they were cursed to see each other as monsters. Unable to break the curse, they simply separated the two in different rooms.
Then the ranger decided to get that apple, failed a check, and promptly fell into a portal trap. He fell from ceiling to floor, ceiling to floor, over and over, faster and faster. Luckily, his resourceful crew found a way to get him free with only minor injuries. And he got the glowing apple!
Satisfied that the children were safe, they headed downstairs…
Light and Darkness
Emerging into the nave of the temple, the party glanced in the privy. Seeing it covered in green ooze, they promptly shut the door. Then they ventured out into the main chamber to battle the ten-foot Stained Glass Angels. The angels were attacking a fort of pews where a paladin was defending several villagers and clerics.
Thanks to some mighty lance-work and two laser-tailed scorpions, the angels were soon shattered. The masked paladin Lady Constance revealed that last night, a sick person was brought into the infirmary downstairs. Soon after, nightmare creatures appeared so she invoked the Golden Veil to protect the town. She praised the heroes as mighty paladins themselves, and charged them with breaking the nightmare curse while she protected the fleeing villagers and clerics.
The party then saved several more people from the living art gallery of hungry paintings and grasping statues, and the public library full of imps and wrecking balls.
And then we called it a night!
It was a great session. Playing online by voice worked well, and we all had a good time. As a DM/designer, I was a little surprised at how quickly the party wanted to dash through the temple. Although I wrote it that way on purpose, in case players weren’t feeling like exploring. My players were clearly not in a completionist mood! They left maybe a third of the rooms unexplored. And even some of the doors they opened, they chose not to go in and investigate what they saw. But the murder-hobo approach worked well!
Next time, into the cellar of horrors!