Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Actual Play - GLOG Wizard City - Junior Year

Wizard Grad School 3rd Year Dungeon Exams

This is the final leg of my GLOG campaign in Goodberry Monthly's ever-increasing Wizard City campaign setting.

After the events of the Freshman Year and Sophomore Year dungeon delves, Jimbo, Deeringer, and Lunai had settled on robbing the vault on the 3rd level as their primary goal for their Junior Year adventure. Jimbo and Deeringer had also endeared themselves to the sorority sisters of Omicron Delta Theta, the so-called "Sisters of the Cell", so we decided to start this year off with a couple of recently-graduated 1st level sorority sisters completing a quest of their own before joining the others on their final delve.

The party had realized that in order to open the vault to steal the Eleventh-Hour Glass (so they could give it to Monica Doom, so she could trade it for her lost ability to change back from being a cat to being human, in exchange for her offer to help fence stolen textbooks for a higher price) they would need the combination to the vault's lock. Fortunately, Monica Doom knew that the Professor of Ethics and Contract Law over at the nearby rival Wizard Liberal Arts College of Soul Studies knew the combination and would be willing to trade it for a favor.

Sooooo, hoping to impress their new mentors, Birdie and Spellweaver set off across town to go back to college (but like, a different college) just after graduating from Gallax University.

This is what a spiderling wizard and a sparrowling wizard team-up looks like, right?
image by Super Team Family

Birdie Boombatz, a sparrowling and 1st level biomancer wizard, played by Josh
Spellweaver, a spiderling and 1st level stalactomancer wizard, played by Peter

Session 9: Summer Break Summer School

Birdie and Spellweaver went to meet Monica Doom's contact in the Wealth & Hellness Office. Dr ZL Beebub the Infernal Professor of Ethics and Contract Law, was willing to trade them the combination to the vault deep under Gallax Hall in exchange for services rendered - specifically he wanted the pair to spoil his rival professor's demonstration of her new invention and humiliate her in front of their peers.

Dr Beebub explained that his rival, Dr BB Rosemary, the Liturgical Professor of Exorcism and Insorcism, would doubtless be rehearsing in the Chapel before giving her big presentation later that day in the Lecture Hall. He insisted on getting the agreement in writing, with the pair's souls held as collateral until the job was completed. (In retrospect, this would have been a great opportunity to sing "Poor Unfortunate Souls" from The Little Mermaid. Oh well.)

Wealth & Hellness was full of cheerful, if creepy, motivational posters: "Pay Your Debts - Or Else", "Broken Promises Cause Broken Knees", etc. Birdie was so impressed by how evil the place seemed that she signed an admissions contract to begin taking classes in the fall. Dr Beebub pointed out the door closest to the Chapel, and the pair set off on their mission.

They entered the Heart House, a great high-ceilinged chamber, with an enormous heart suspended from the ceiling, slowly beating and dripping bloody meat juice onto the floor. As a trained stalactomancer, Spellweaver eagerly crouched down to slurp some of the fluids off the floor, "Wow this is totally grody," and learning the mysterious secrets of electricity in the process! "Ew, that's like, really gross," opined Birdie, as she collected several vials of the same liquid to mix into her homemade polymorph potions.

They next entered the Chapel, carefully opening and closing the doors in time to the heartbeat. They saw Dr Rosemary standing behind the altar, facing away from them, animatedly rehearsing her lecture. It sounded like she had a machine that could remove the soul from one body and transfer it to another. Spellweaver and Birdie decided they could sabotage the machine. For good measure, they used their scrunchies to tie up the Chapel door-handles to try to delay Dr Rosemary from leaving.

The sisters retraced their steps back through the Heart House and Wealth & Hellness, and planned to approach the lecture hall by cutting through the Library. The shelves were stacked to the ceiling and seemed to loom and sway as they passed through. "Ugh, this place is really cramped!" An indignant librarian quickly honed in on the pair's whispers, so they rushed out the other side, arriving in the Bell Tower. They saw a rickety and railing-less staircase leading all the way to the top ... along with dozens of ghosts flying around the belfry. "I wonder whose office is up there? I guess we'll never know!"

Birdie and Spellweave next arrived in the Tutorial Laboratories, where they saw doors to three study rooms. Picking one, they found two badass wizard weapons, the Soul Gun and the Hell Gun, sitting out on a work bench. They also heard an ominous skittering sound coming through the air vents toward them, and so quickly retreated from the study rooms with their newfound weapons.

Finally they reached the Lecture Hall, only to be challenged by the small crowd of undergrads already filling the first several rows. "Hey, what are you two grad students doing in here? We're getting extra credit for attending this lecture. Don't do anything that would jeopardize our extra credit!" Thinking quickly, Birdie used a spell to disguise herself as Dr Rosemary, while Spellweaver used her newly (and deliciously!) acquired knowledge of electricity to tamper with the experimental device. "Like, I'm totally Dr Rosemary or whatever. What are you kids even doing here? There's like, no extra credit for this talk. Tell all your friends, okay? You get no credit for being here! I want you to learn to be like, intrinsically motivated, or some junk." The undergrads were aghast and when the sisters shut the door, they heard the students immediately erupt in a debate about how to continue.

Feeling confident that they'd held up their end of the bargain, Birdie and Spellweaver tried to head back to Wealth & Hellness without being seen by the real Dr Rosemay ... or facing whatever that skittering sound was again. They passed through the cafeteria, which was in an uproar over the issue of extra credit, and both heroines were pelted with food as they tried to rush through the crossfire. Spellweaver was hit with an exploding pie that blew off one of her legs! Birdie got struck by a "meat" loaf that hit like a brick.

By the time they reached Wealth & Hellness, Dr Beebub was already laughing to himself. He'd gotten the latest gossip from his staff. Only a handful of students attended, which flustered the poor woman, and made her look bad in front of her colleagues. Worse, when she called for a volunteer to help demonstrate her soul-swapping device, the machine didn't even steal the student's soul - instead it turned Dr Rosemary herself into a mindless zombie body. This certainly wouldn't look good on her tenure application! Pleased with the results, Dr Beebub gave Birdie and Spellweaver the combination to the vault, and the pair left with their new guns, knowledge of electricity, and giant-infused polymorph potions.

The Soul Gun and Hell Gun, seen here being wielded
by their original owners, Captain Soul and Hellwave

I ran the Winter Break using the "Stirring Up the Pot" table from the Wizard City Hex Crawl, and then having each character roll on the What Happened This Semester? table. Also, I believe I either had Josh make a saving throw or a Wisdom check to try to remove his last remaining mental mutation.

Jimbo Chirrup, a grasshopperfolk and 3rd level garden wizard and
Birdie Boombatz, a sparrowling and 1st level biomancer wizardplayed by Josh

Deeringer, a deerling and 3rd level drowned wizard and
Spellweaver, a spiderling and 1st level stalactomancer wizardplayed by Peter

Lunai Lovegood, a lunai and 3rd level orthodox wizardplayed by me

Session 10: Winter Holiday and Spring Break

Jimbo, Birdie, Deeringer, Spellweaver, and Lunai went out on the town the very first night of the winter holiday, hoping to celebrate the end of their fall classes. Unfortunately, Lunai immediately noticed a problem. "Something's wrong with the moon," she said, "I'm from there, and it's not supposed to look like that!"

Indeed it was not! The Dead Jane gang had finally put in motion their long-held plan to summon the Zombie Moon! Corpses rose from their graves! Various townsfolk failed their saving throws and were converted to the living dead! But what started as a zombie apocalypse quickly turned into a gang war, when the Wizard Police, rather than solving the problem themselves, outsourced the zombie killing to the rival Black Dragon gang. "Eh whatever, these'll be public service homicides for a change."

The grad school chums spent the break holed up inside the Wandering Monster bar. In fact, virtually everyone who wasn't a gang member of zombie spent the break holed up wherever they could find a locking door. They enjoyed a sumptuous Winter Solstice feast of the last of the bar nuts and a handful of pretzels, split five ways. Lunai also managed to purchase a discarded zombie arm at a steep discount, giving her just the prosthetic she needed after losing her original arm to a carnivorous hat the previous year. Spellweaver considered buying a zombie arm of her own, to replace the one she lost over the summer, but decided she could do better.

Over spring break, a rogue graduate committee managed to ambush Deeringer and force him into an empty conference room for a coerced but impromptu masters thesis defense. Fortunately, as one of the last surviving citizens of doomed Atlantis, Deeringer had spent his whole life preparing for this moment. He pulled out a rolled up poster, with hundreds of instructional images connected by a maze of diagonal red lines, and lectured the professors for 10 hours on his magnum opus, "The Ocean Is Coming: And You're Going to Hell", until they finally relented and awarded him a degree. Jimbo was astonished: "you don't even go to this school!"

Spellweaver was impressed with her mentor. Without her really meaning for it to happen, the student loan officer who'd been pursuing Deeringer ended up falling in love with her. "It must be my irresistible pheromones. We like, use them for subduing inferior mammals, and stuff." She tried to convince the poor kid to cut off his arm and give it to her as a courtship present, but his affections didn't extend quite that far. "Yet!"

Jimbo's visits to Student Health finally paid off, and the counselors there cured him of the drinking problem he'd gotten after wandering into one of the Department of Torture laboratories. "From now on, I'm straight edge," he said, drawing Xs on the back of his hands. With a clearer head, he was also able think back on his many trips between the University campus and the Wandering Monster bar ... and realize that there was a hidden alleyway connecting them. If only he had any use for that information!

Over the winter and spring, Jimbo made several attempts to figure out the workings of the Soul Gun and Hell Gun. When fired, the Soul Gun let out a beam of angelic blue light, and the Hell Gun burst forth with a swath of sulfurous hellfire. Jimbo tried out the Hell Gun against an advancing zombie during the winter, but the fire didn't seem to burn the lifeless creature. Later he took both guns out to the University garden to try firing them at tin cans set up on fence posts. Visually they were incredibly dramatic, but the unliving cans (and fence posts) suffered no obvious effects from the weapons. "I guess I'll have to test them on something living..." he finally acceded.

Birdie was able to find a special of The Walking Eye student newspaper. Her issue was all about the Black Dragons gang, and has advice for selling futures of zombie body parts. "Ohmygod, I'm like, a total entrepreneur!"
A new challenger grad student has appeared!
At this point, Josh's friend and writing-partner Leighton joined our group, adding one final member to the party:

Chordy teh Forg, a toadling and 3rd level geometer wizard, played by Leighton

At 3rd level, all the GLOG wizards in the party got to choose one spell and give it a positive spell mutation. I think Jimbo chose Magic Missile and got a more powerful version, and I honestly don't remember what happened with Deeringer. Chordy decided to mutate Control Iron and was required to give it "new flavor", turning it into Control Stone, which proved to be enormously useful down in the dungeon. 

Sessions 11-13: Third Year Final Exams

Before venturing into the dungeons for the last time, the group went over their plan. They had the combination to the vaults. They had a fake "hall pass" that had worked once before. They bought some rope to descend down the belltower, which they thought was too rickety to climb down before. They had a couple of badass hell weapons, even if they weren't totally sure how they worked. Was there anything else? "Uh, YE-ah," said Birdie, "we need, like, a human sacrifice!" Spellweaver agreed. "You know how, like, in undergrad, we would like, hire a really nerdy guy to our homework for us? We need that, but like, for the dungeon!"

Jimbo thought he knew just the guy for the job. He went into the student bookstore on a Saturday morning, when everyone else was still asleep from partying the night before, and sidled up to the only other person awake on campus - the poor chump stuck working the morning cashier shift. Jimbo stood near the checkout lane, his hands folded behind his back nonchalantly, staring up at the ceiling as though inspecting the tiles. 

"Psst, Chordy," he whispered.
"Is someone talking to me?!" the toadling cashier enthused.
"It's me Jimbo," said Jimbo. "Listen, you know all those textbooks my friends and I sold you?"
"Of course!" announced Chordy, "the bookstore is always happy to buy back legally acquired used textbooks!"
"Uh, yeah, 'legal' ", Jimbo agreed. "Anyway, Chordy, my friends and I are going someplace where there'll probably be a lot more textbooks, and we could use someone with your expertise to-"
"Wait!" cut in Chordy, "Friends?! Are you saying we're friends?!"
"Well, no, that's not exactly what I..." Jimbo paused to consider his option. "You know what? Yeah, sure, friends."
"Friends!" exclaimed an enraptured Chordy, who took off his bookstore apron, and followed Jimbo to the dungeon entrance.

The group passed through the now-familiar entrance to the dungeons under Gallax Hall. A quick peek into Dr Sitch's office revealed the professor staring forlornly at a photo of Arivaderchi Zeucchini, a single tear in the old man's eye. They headed straight for the belltower, wasting no time on detours or distractions. The custodians' sign warning of a "Grabby Floor" were still up, so the friends took a familiar path around it, passing by various statues to arrive at the boarded-up wall leading into the top of the belltower. They began hacking away at the wall with their weapons, only to be confronted by an angry custodian. "What the hell are you kids doing to that wall?!" the frustrated worker screamed at them. Jimbo cast a spell to calm the man's emotions. "With the overtime pay I'll earn from these repairs, I can rent that hat I've had my eye on. You kids are alright."

With the wall open, the group looked down the deep pit. The very top of the old belltower only reached here, to the basement bellow Gallax hall. The belltower passed down through the steam tunnels and (they hoped!) opened out into the ruins of the Old University. They secured their ropes and climbed carefully down. At the bottom, they discovered that all the old doors out of the belltower had been walled up. There was no obvious way out. "I know!" shouted Chordy, his already loud voice amplified by the acoustics of the tower. "I can control the stone to make a new way out!" The others winced in agreement. After some debate about which side of the square room to install an exit, Chordy faced the southern wall, and sent a tunnel through 10' of stone fill to create a new doorway into a hall. There was a closed door directly in front of them, to one side they could see the enormous room containing the statues of the founders and the (presumably) cursed Seal of the University. To the other side they saw a double-wide hallway. 

Jimbo remembered the guardians of the previous double-wide hall, got out the forged "hall pass", and strode confidently out to meet the robotic guard. Glancing to the south, he spotted a carving of a knight in armor, and walked up to it. He slowed as he began noticing dozens of charred corpses further to the south. The carving's visor began glowing red. "Present hall pass," it intoned. "Certainly, certainly," Jimbo dissembled. "I'm sure this is all in order." The charred bodies began to stir and rise to their feet. The visor's red glow became almost blinding. "Hallpass rejected. Intruder alert! Intruder alert!" Jimbo turned and tried to run back around the corner, but he was shot in the back by a powerful laser blast that could easily have killed him a few years ago. The charred corpses began slowly shambling northward toward Jimbo and the others, waiting just around the corner. The statues visor returned to a dull red glow, and appeared to be recharging. Spellweaver rushed out to sabotage its electronics, barely avoiding the zombie vanguard. The group hustled into the closed door directly across from Chordy's tunnel. They heard the whine of the recharging robot reach a fever pitch, then heard an explosion as red light momentarily poured between the door and jam.

Turning from that near disaster, as Birdie gently patted out the last smoldering flames on Jimbo's back, the friends surveyed the room, finding themselves in some sort of catering staging area. A gang of 4 mean looking undergrads in fraternity robes were in the middle of shaving strips of meat off a pair of mummified kebabs, molding the strips into little gingerbread-man-sized puppets, then bringing them magically to life. Birdie and Spellweaver recognized their fraternity gang-signs from their own sorority days. "Ugh, its the Black Magic Bros. They're like, totally our rivals and junk." The Bros didn't look very happy to see the adventurers either. "Girls and grad students? Gross. Do you lift even?" A couple of the Bros came at the group with their carving knives, and Jimbo attempted to use his calming magic again. Unfortunately, he suffered a mishap, and vomited hemolymph all over the floor at their feet. Spellweaver eyed the liquid longingly. The Bros were disgusted, and shooed everyone out through the back door into the kitchen so they could continue their magic ritual uninterrupted.

In the kitchen, the group saw a zombie (a non-burned-up one this time) gnawing on another spindle of mummified meat. Deeringer tried to sneak up behind it, but his antlers accidentally knocked over a dishrack, raising a terrible clatter. One of the Black Magic Bros came in. "Yo! Are you bros interrupting our magic on purpose?" Deeringer explained that it was just an accident while trying to attack the zombie, but he wasn't able to harm it. The Bro was disgusted, but magically destroyed the zombie and then returned next door. "Yo, you bros are genuinely weak and pathetic. You sicken me. You need to lift and get swole!"

With the Bros distracted and the zombie defeated, the group decided to take advantage of the momentary calm to eat some lunch in the old kitchen. Jimbo felt much better afterward! After eating, they searched the kitchen for valuables, and turned up fine china plates worth 88 gp, and some good silverware worth 15 gp. Rather than risk interrupting the Bros again, they left the kitchen via the back exit, which deposited them in a small crossway with three other possible routes. Peeking into each room in turn, they saw a refrigerated room where a dozen zombies were trying to open a locked freezer, a cafeteria where a dozen zombies were tearing apart the corpse of a Black Magic Bro, and a blocked door that they eventually forced open. It was a supply closet, filled with tables and chairs, most of which had been piled up to prevent anyone from getting in. After finally weaseling inside, they pushed the stacked furniture back into position to keep out any zombies.

The group then listened at the only other exit door, and heard whispering about budgets. They worried that this might be another administrative ghost, but decided that was still safer than trying to fight through a mob of zombies. They emerged into a dusty hallway connecting the giant University Seal room to the old front entrance to the original Gallax College building. The hall was dusty, but it was clear that a lot of foot traffic was coming north from the old entrance, so they headed in that direction. As they approached the foyer, they were accosted by more Black Magic Bros, "Yo, this is our turf, frat brothers only past this point!" Deeringer stepped forward, "Well what if we joined your fraternity?" The Bros seemed excited by this idea, "Bro, are you pledges?! This is great! Alright probie, you wanna join our gang, all you gotta do is commit an unforgivable sin."

Jimbo stepped forward with his Hell Gun, checked the group to identify the shortest and nerdiest looking Bro, and straight up wasted the guy with a torrent of hellfire. That Bro's soul was condemned to Hell, and Jimbo knew with a certainty that his own soul was damned in that instant as well. The other Bros took one look at the smoldering corpse, then at Jimbo, then cheered. "Bro! That was epic! You didn't tell me you dudes were hardcore!" A round of chest bumps, high fives, and keg stands followed. Spellweaver amused the Bros by trying to harvest a prosthetic from the corpse, but it was too badly burned. Jimbo seemed dazed, and kept looking at his hands. "My god, what have I done..." he mumbled to himself. "I used to be so nice... I was going to be a farmer..."

While partying, the Bros explain the layout of their turf, and the group made a plan to get to the vault. They entered a room that they believed had door opening to the north, but found their way blocked by some sort of arcane puzzle. The wall was carved with some sort of large circular rune, the indents were filled with dried blood, and key spots on the rune were adorned with teeth and ears. "I have some teeth!" Spellweaver cheerfully announced. "What? Why?" Jimbo was disgusted. "I got my boyfriend in the bursar's office to give them to me while I was building up to ask for his arm." Jimbo insisted that they get ears from the zombie remains they'd left in the kitchen. En route, they encountered a dungeon cat! Jimbo remembered he'd stolen a laser pointer from the Torture Department's lecture hall, and used it to entertain the cat, who proved to be very friendly. "Wow boss," said Birdie, impressed, "You're like a real evil wizard now. You've got an apprentice, a familiar, plus that Hell Gun." Jimbo mumbled to himself as they returned to the room with the mysterious seal, "No... supposed to be nice... farmer..."

Birdie and Spellweaver experimented with adding additional teeth and ears to the rune, but couldn't get it to activate. Deeringer tried wiping away some of the blood, and they realized that this was a Custodian's Seal ... which made them question whether the bodyparts were needed for the ritual, or some sort of negative consequence of performing it incorrectly. "I have an idea!" announced Chordy, and used his spell to control stone to open another doorway right next to the secret door being blocked by the seal.

In the next room, they found a bloodstained stone altar next to a pit filled with the skeletons of undergrads, still wearing a few mouldering scraps of their old robes. Another skeleton was reaching out toward the altar, obviously killed by a sword stuck through its back. Deeringer inspected this corpse. He thought it was Administrator Hargrave. " 'No escape, Hargrave,' indeed," he said. He found a slip of paper in the skeleton's hand with clues for figuring out the vault combination, but since they already knew the combination, they didn't bother trying to puzzle out the three riddles. Spellweaver took the sword and swung it around a few times, "Oh yeah, I could really chop some arms off with this!" Jimbo took the demon-faced wizard's hat the corpse was wearing, beginning to accept his new identity as an evil wizard.

Deeringer felt around the northern wall, looking for a way through into the vault. As he did, the skeletons in the pit began stirring. Chordy used a spell for packing things securely to slide the altar into the pit, crushing the skeletons to dust. (Meanwhile, upstairs, every other skeleton in the dungeon reanimated and went on an indiscriminate killing spree!) Administrator Hargrave's skeleton rose up to attack them, but Spellweaver used the magic sword to put Hargrave down for a second time. Eventually Deeringer was able to force open a door that was probably somehow tied to the altar's magic. And with that, they were in the vault!

Deeringer used the combination Birdie and Spellweaver had secured to open a locked safe. Inside the found the mythic Eleventh Hourglass! They weren't really sure what use it might have, beyond securing their good relationship with Monica Doom. The room was filled with other treasure chests, but they were mostly open and empty. In fact, only one was undisturbed. Deeringer feared a trap, and used his spell that commanded coins to open the chest from a distance. Nothing seemed to happen, and they found two heavy gold ingots inside. Birdie and Spellweaver each carried one.

To leave the dungeon and return upstairs, the group decided to take a different way back so the Bros wouldn't see them carrying the gold. They went down the hall past Chordy's entrance to the blood-sealed room, and found a closet for storing contraband that had been confiscated from unruly undergrads. There were storage areas for knives, swords, staves, crossbows, and wands, but only a handful of loose daggers were left lying on the floor; everything else had been taken.

In the next room, they found a walk-in closet with a lot of dusty old Administrator's robes, and a lot more empty hangers. Rounding a corner, they saw a dying undergrad slowly dragging himself toward a farther door. Inspecting him seemed to reveal that he wasn't a ghost, but maybe someone trapped in slow motion and a time-loop. They used the Soul Gun to disperse the soul from his body one segment at a time, until he was finally released from the prison he'd been trapped in for hundreds of years. Spellweaver drank some of the blood off the floor and learned a bit of history - the graduating class of 677 had all been killed and turned into zombies which still wandered these lower halls. This lead to a worsening of faculty-student relations, culminating in a rebellion led by the class of 702. That was probably the source of the various battlefields they'd seen, and the reason the old university was abandoned and built over, as well as the cause of this poor fellow's death.

The group dressed in Administrator's robes and used a couple of spares to hide their gold ingots. Confident in their new attire, they found their way to one of the double-wide halls, where a knight statue greeted them in its robotic voice, "Greetings, administrators." They had no further trouble returning to the surface.

With the Eleventh Hourglass to use as a bargaining chip, Monica Doom was able to buy back her ability to return to human form. And with their gold bars, new magic items, and purloined dinnerware, the group was financially well set up to leave the University and start up their own wizarding gang.



  1. Replies
    1. It does feel kind of good to wrap a campaign up with the completion of a goal though.

      I think most campaigns simply stop rather than finishing, which is okay, but the occasional real ending is kind of its own reward.

  2. Jimbo's going to be a fantastic farmer...
    ...IN HELL! Ahahaha!

    1. Jimbo: "Blood makes the soil rich...."

    2. Jimbo's transformation over the course of the campaign was a real delight to watch.

      Deeringer didn't change much, but his consistent fear of water and hardboiled detective persona were always enjoyable.

      And the sorority girls were so full of pep and go-get-em-ness that I always smiled when they were up to something.

  3. Sad to see the end of it! Sounds like a great time.

    And dang, does Wizard City ever look fun to play around in.

    1. We had a good run! I think revisiting Wizard City outside the UGH dungeon would be the next logical step for this campaign, if we ever pick it back up.

      It's a wild place! Martin has really filled it to overflowing with zany and imaginative goings-on.