Session Report: Ragged Hollow Nightmare #4

This is it! The end of the road for our heroes! But did it end in triumph, or in tragedy???

Once again, my merry band got together on Discord for a voice-driven session of Ragged Hollow Nightmare. But I upgraded us a little bit by live-streaming a battlemap using MS PowerPoint. I streamed the working slide, and as the action progressed, I simply moved the icons for the players and the monsters around the screen. It worked really well!

But onto the action!

Play time: ~4 hours

  • Garvin the Ranger
  • Thorin the Fighter
  • Zard the “Burninator” Sorcerer
  • Lothki the Artificer (and his metal ram “Ramkin”)

Exploration

Having defeated the Stained Glass Angels and saved the rest of the trapped villagers, our heroes were ready to move on into the lower cellars and find the source of the nightmare. But first they poked around a closet of infinite shadows that poured blood rats all over the floor. They also retrieved the mysterious metal circlet from the ooze in the privy, only to discover it was the toilet seat.

Venturing out into the gardens, they met the lying tree that had just murdered a newlywed couple. Then they talked to the skeleton ravens, solved a riddle, and learned that acid can destroy black ichor. Returning inside, they distracted a hellhound with a magic apple wrapped in jerky. The apple shrank the hellhound to adorable proportions, and they locked it up in the burnt library. Time to go downstairs!

The Cellars

Venturing downstairs, the party found a large loop of a hallway with many doors. The floors were flooded with blood, and the walls were flesh and bone, full of staring eyes and moaning mouths.

They also heard people calling for help and an ominous groaning and crawling sound. They quickly noped out of the frozen food storage room, and the dusty wine cellar, and discovered the broken doors of the vault. Inside, they met the frozen shadow of Samson Windler, who begged them to snuff the magic candle holding him there.

They really thought about that one. In fact, they went all the way back up to the top floor of the temple to ask Sister Ruth about it. But in the end, despite multiple begging sessions, they did not free the shade of Samson Windler.

They did, however, discover the bloated and deformed body of poor Brother Seth heaving through the passageway, flailing tentacles everywhere.

The Prisoners

Moving quickly to stay ahead of Brother Seth, the heroes checked each of the small cells along the passageway. They found local teen Tobias, also bloated and deformed, screaming and flailing. Then depressed teen Gavin, infected janitor Martin, an unnamed madwoman, and a desperate thief named Will. They let Gavin go, and he ran for his life.

They also found a closet full of medical supplies, including acid!

Around this time, they had collected enough clues to piece together the timeline of what had happened here. I was pretty proud of the detective work happening at our virtual table! They correctly deduced that Tobias had brought some sort of infection into the temple, but that the nightmare creatures were caused by the Crown of Dreams that Brother Seth had placed on his head to try to calm him down.

With a few bottles of acid and some solid rolls, the heroes pulled the Crown of Dreams off of Tobias and the nightmare ended. Mostly. Tobias and Brother Seth were still hideous monsters. Shortly thereafter, Brother Seth’s tentacles smashed poor Ramkin to bits.

Lothki then noticed a strange wall, and the team bashed it down, slipping into an old forgotten tunnel. Inside, they found a crypt, which they promptly looted. When they returned to the passageway, Zard and Garvin joined forces to spray acid on Brother Seth and Tobias, burning away the black ichor and restoring them to normal.

Hooray!

Wrap-up

Returning to the upper levels, the heroes deposited Tobias and Seth with the clerics. Lady Constance then lowered the Golden Veil and everyone escaped the temple. Thorin retrieved his climbing gear from the bell tower, and the team left. Outside they were greeted by the town as heroes and saviors. Huzzah!

So, Ragged Hollow Nightmare filled out four solid sessions for my players. And they did a great job sniffing out plot hooks and chasing them down. The only two areas they did not explore were Mount Mourn and the Windler House. The players all seemed pretty satisfied with the social encounters, the combats, and the puzzles. As the DM, I was pretty happy with the materials. I always felt like I had enough tools at hand to manage whatever was happening in the moment.

Lessons Learned

The one thing I wish I had done a little differently was inside the temple. It was a little too easy for the party to just open a door, decide whether to engage or not, and then move on. Some of that is good, but it became the pattern for a lot of the temple. I wish I had made more of the encounters in the rooms spill out into the halls and engage the players more organically. But that’s a small quibble.

What’s Next?

The party wants to party on, so at our next session I will be dropping Grave Titan Harvest into the outskirts of Ragged Hollow. How will they fare in a giant cavern full of miners, bones, and dueling wizards?

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