And here we go again:
We began last session with the End of Session move I forgot to do the week before, and so I introduced the session with "Last time, in Dungeon World..."
The players seemed to warm to this bit, and even with the delay in between sessions, recalled most of the salient points from the last game, and forgave me a few minor lapses.
(Here's a thing: Shanks has a bond "Amdor has my back when things go wrong". How is that bond going to be declared as resolved? When does it count?)
We return to the two adventurers studying the idol, which is festooned with the remnants of consumed magic items, and has cracks and interstices packed with Grundloch's signature magic clay. This, of course, is how Grundloch is controlling the idol - through a combination of the blood spilt in the complex to power the idol, the magic clay, and some sympathetic magic, he has impressed his will upon the idol, and is now mentally dominating the goblins and lizardmen to carry out his will. He's now heading off to put his new small army to use. It's a good thing he's not brilliant at military tactics, and that his assistant Cassius, who was better at it, came down with a slight case of death last session.
Amdor and Shanks consult the map and are highly curious about the room which "Was A Temple". It's nice and close, so they grab their stuff and head over to it.
The doors are closed, roped shut, and covered in goblin sigils, drawn in goblin blood.
The boys step over the corpse of a lizardman who died in agony (if the creatures resisted Grundloch's control, he used the idol's power to kill them, eliminating dissent), and study the door. A Discern Realities from Shanks yields no good ideas, and they're both shocked when the door moves slightly, as if shoved.
From behind them, the lizard's corpse sits up, and moans "Free me", in a long drawn-out voice, as Urlaz the captive demon struggles to make the voicebox work.
Swords emerge from scabbards as the two delvers go back to back. "Who said that?" is asked, accusingly.
Urlaz switches between pleading for release, and threatening consequences if he isn't let out. I start off by doing the drawn out hissing voice, but when my throat complains, I switch back to normal. Both players have used Charisma as a dump stat, or very close to it, so the characters don't manage to get a lot of information from Urlaz, except his name, and the fact that he doesn't know how long he's been down there. They're still not sure if he's the spirit of a long-dead member of the Order of The Idol, or something worse. Urlaz offers them treasure, but they don't bite. After scanning the doors to reassure themselves he can't get out, the duo leaves Urlaz to his own devices and heads off North, through the idol's room, and up the scree-laden slope to the Hall Under The Hill.
The slope's been nicely trodden down by 80 or so sets of feet (my own figures, and I don't tell them any number other than "several", and they make it up easily, and remember to sheath their weapons as they move through the Hall. The main doors are open now, and the guys notice that the barricades outside have gone (torn up by Grundloch's army for firewood). Also they spot that the doors have a new feature, a large deep gash across the symbol of the Idol that's on them.
(What happened here is that Grundloch got annoyed with the Hall's sentinel announcing the departure of all the goblins and lizardmen, and lashed at the anchoring runes with a powerful spell. It shut the sentinel down, and released more magic into the area for the idol to work with. Hopefully, it makes the characters more aware that Grundloch has a number of nasty strings to his bow. Metaphorically)
The two come away from the main doors, ready their lantern and head to the vault. Shanks uses pieces of soft clay and carefully removes broken tool fragments from the lock mechanism so he can pick it. He does, and the doors can be pushed inwards, allowing the two into the vault.
The two aren't fooled by my descriptions of the empty vault, with empty shelves, rusty stains on the flagstones at the back where chains used to hang, and grooved trenches for carrying away waste from the poor unfortunates chained there, and they start to search the room.
As he checks over his shoulder, Amdor could have sworn he saw a figure standing over near Shanks, but before he can call out, it's gone. Meanwhile, the shelf in front of him almost seems to rattle, and he prods it lightly. Oddly, it hinges upward, revealing a secret cubbyhole. In which is a mere length of rope. He pulls it out, and onto the floor, looking for anything more interesting in the small compartment and finding nothing.
Shanks, tapping the flagstones and wall at the rear of the room, feels the hairs on the back of his neck prickle, and whirls around, spotting another transparent figure seemingly reaching for Amdor's sword, and calls out in alarm.
That figure disappears, but another materialises far closer to Shanks, and the thief takes a leap back to put the wall to his back. The transparent figure is humanoid but it's face and outlines seems blurred, (like a photograph with a too-slow shutter speed). It reaches out a hand to Shanks, and Shanks panics, dashing for the door. The figure's hand passes through Shanks' body, and the thief feels a terrible chill grip his chest. It's only three damage, but it makes him even keener to leave.
Which is why it's such a shock when the doors slam shut, and now, clearly visible are six ghostly figures, three to each door, trapping the adventurers inside.
Amdor's blade whispers from it's scabbard, and whisks through the figures, disrupting them, although they reform a short distance away. Amdor gets a hand to the door and pulls it ajar, and Shanks hurtles through it, terrified.
As Amdor struggles to keep the door ajar, he hears a voice address him in Elven, and momentarily stops exerting himself to pay attention. Manifesting in front of him is an emaciated Elvish ghost with a slit throat.
The ghost explains why the spirits are trapped and begs Amdor and Shanks to help them. Suddenly there's a cacophony from all the spirits as they voice their various (and some quite insane) last desires. It turns out that the elf ghost wants nothing more than to see the sun again, and to be in the light once more, and it thinks Amdor's blade (which Amdor doesn't think is magical) can offer it enough purchase to get through the enchantment on the vault.
Shanks feels a twinge from the mark on his forearm. Did I mention that, since his "three good deeds" deal with the goddess who appeared to him during his Last Breath move, Shanks has had a black trefoil mark on his arm, with her symbol at the centre? Well, he has. Shanks offers his services, too, and ghosts try and ride out of the vault on a few pots of magical reagents he pinched out of Grundloch's kit. Shanks also grabs the rope from the floor (it's the Rope of Tricks) to carry, and ghosts also try and ride out on that, unbeknownst to the pair, who so far think it's just a coil of mundane rope.
Long story short, the two characters make a very creepy-feeling trip to the surface, and the cloying pressure around them dissipates in the sunlight, partly because it's what some of the ghosts want, and also because sunlight is a bane to Undead.
As the ghosts disappear, each character hears a whisper in his ear: Amdor hears the elven ghost, who thanks Amdor and tells him he's earned a favour with the ghost's family, the Dorallens.
Shanks hears a spectral whisper telling him about the secret cache in the Idol's chamber, and how to open it. He grins and, after a short moment of reflection, the two adventurers make their way back inside. (When Shanks next studies his arm, he'll discover that one of the leaves on his trefoil mark has turned gold. The players also got to mark XP).
The duo make their way back through to the carved fresco on the wall of the Idol's Chamber, and Shanks uses his new-found knowledge to open the cache, which is promptly looted. Shanks grabs the sacrificial knife, which I describe as being bronze, old, single-edged, and nasty.
Amdor helps himself to the shield, and the two each put on a pin with the Order Of The Idol's symbol on, for no other reason than they look cool. They discuss what to do next, near enough the lizardman zombie that Urlaz can almost overhear, which is why this exchange happens:
Shanks: I'd say we're almost done in here
Amdor: Still a few things left to do - we could try and deal with those flying fire things now we've got bows, and we've still got whatsisname to deal with.
Lizardman zombie: Urlaz!
*Shanks makes a "let's move elsewhere" gesture to Amdor, and the two sneak away*
In fact, they sneak all the way to the Library, where they want to go through Grundloch's remaining notes, and any books they can find there to see if they mention Urlaz and how to kill him.
Not being natural readers, it takes them a little while to get organised, but they do manage eventually to worm their way through enough notes to Spout Lore, and they don't like what they come up with. They learn to expect Hellfire, and discover a few more similar demonic names in what they eventually come to realise is the Infinite Folio that's in the library. They deduce that the last syllable of Urlaz' name is key, since it denotes his lineage flows from Azogoth, a major demon, but since Urlaz isn't listed amongst that demon's captains and lieutenants, they're able to conclude he's a fairly low-ranking demon, and thus they start to imagine they might be able to take him down.
So, they hatch a plan involving the two of them tricking Urlaz out of the Temple and eventually pushing him into the Scrying Pool in the hope that the Gaurrax will attack him, and then they can finish off the presumably-wounded victor. Shanks has an idea involving using their newly-found coil of rope to lasso Urlaz, and is quite surprised when the rope picks the idea of "lasso" out of his intentions and forms itself into one. Amdor doesn't notice, and continues the plan, mentioning that they could cut tripwires from the rope. Upon Shanks hearing the word "cut", the rope picks that idea from his mind, and shivers like a snake version of Scooby-Doo. When Amdor says "cut" one more time, there's a flurry of motion as the terrified magic rope tries to hide in Shanks' backpack, whereupon Amdor draws his sword in panic, and the rope burrows to the bottom of the pack and seemingly refuses to come out.
Shanks taps his pack and makes soothing noises before it dawns upon him how insane he must look to onlookers, and giving up.
The two pack the Infinite Folio away as More Loot, and return to the Hall of the Idol, only to be brought up short as they notice a small group of goblins near the Not a Temple's closed doors. Three goblins are swathed in their brown Jawa-esque robes, but the robes are embroidered with a few symbols in black and red thread, but standing apart from them is a big goblin. Well, big *for* a goblin.
If your average goblin is the size of a halfling, this one is the size of a dwarf.
And I mention that this is a decent comparison, since this goblin is both bulky and pugnacious, and has just used the war-axe in his right hand to separate the lizardman zombie's head from it's body. This bellicose goblin is the first to notice the two delvers, and eagerly hefts both his axe, and the war-flail in his left hand.
Amdor grins, whisks his rapier from the sheath, and beckons the big gob forward.
Shanks, who is Never Caught Off Guard, has an arrow in the air before any of the robed goblins can react, but after a marvellous Volley roll, Dave only turns up a mere 1 damage.
At this point, one of the shamans (because that's what they are) calls out "STOP!", and to their surprise, the big goblin takes this advice.
Moving gingerly forward, the two adventurers engage the gobs in conversation, despite their every instinct telling them that they should be engaging them in combat.
This is Glug, the goblin chief, who's very annoyed at having his whole tribe either stolen or, in the case of the few who struggled, killed by Grundloch. It unfolds that these three shamans and the chief were in a protective magic circle carved into the floor in the Chief's quarters when the Idol's effects hit, and that's why they're not currently moving cross-country with the rest of their tribe and the remaining lizards, who the Chief also hates. They've come out of their cave to make one last check on the sigils binding in the demon, since last time he got free, it took the deaths of Too Many Goblins to put him back inside.
Even the goblin Shanks put an arrow into is fairly sanguine about it, since he was going to have to get cut anyway - the sigils on the door are drawn in his blood, and it's partly his life force sealing the door shut. They even return the arrow.
Shanks and Amdor start to wonder exactly what the hecketty hey is going on here, since these goblins are way too friendly and open, and one of the shamans points at the small pouch of coins hanging from Shanks' belt (the ones that he looted from the offerings in the stone circle at the very start of the adventure), and declares that the two adventurers are clearly their allies, having been summoned to, and taken their payment from the stone circle. His only regret is that the shamans and chief weren't there to greet the warriors, when the unfortunate loss of goblin warriors which has happened when they met the warriors could have been prevented.
Shanks and Amdor are still on the back foot, conversationally speaking, but since the shamans and the Chief (who doesn't speak a lot of Common, and has the shamans translating for him) have a fairly similar aim to theirs at this point, namely Find Wizard, Kill Wizard, they are gently persuaded to accompany the gobs on their way to go and do it. So they do.