This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Meet 78, Adv 4, 3/21/15

The group eventually got to the last fight with the dwarven priest of Hades who assaulted them in 3 waves of various undead baddies - with a surprise of a wraith assault at the end.

Damage was almost zero since as the group pointed out - if they HAD gotten hit, it would have meant level drain as well as damage - and we already had a few group members suffering with negative levels to date.

The next meeting would be the cleanup and training - and then we'll take a few weeks off before rolling into adventure 5.

Write up follows:

Bless spells, protections from evil, shield spells, and all sorts of weaponry and missiles were readied. We had Encrinus hurl a glass flask of grease against the bottom steps to make the passage down that much harder. Castus’ dogs were snarling and slavering, and we positioned Marcus nearest the steps, the fighter wizard watching the approach with a wary eye. Lastly we hit Tranis with an Enlarge spell (thanks to Castus’ man Yuri), the ranger growing swiftly to just about 9’ in height.

And then the undead hit us. Ghouls and skeletons swarmed into us and we struck back hard and fast. Our front rank held strong, bolstered by the 2nd ranks spears and staves. Curufin and Vestanus had opened his porter’s chest and were hanging the entire stock of medium wooden shields we brought with us in the hallway, expecting that we were going to need them swiftly.

Funis, Marcus, Tranis, Torquil, Yuri, and one of Castus’ druids armed with an enchanted spear plied their weapons against the necromantic horde in position, hewing them down in easy swipes of hacking swords and axes. But even as they fell the next wave approached, and this one had Karstimis and some wights along. And the wights were Auri, Sanford, and some other figure we did not recognize. A number of spear wielding skeletons came along; hitting the party with impunity from the enemy’s back rank.

Once more we held the ground as best we can, tearing into the level draining foes with determined ferocity. A Faerie Fire spell illuminated the wights and then a flaming sphere was strafed down the corridor, burning about half the undead before it came to a stop next to Auri who was fighting Marcus from the steps and therefore out of the possible range of the sphere. One of Castus’ dog’s died which caused the party to shuffle people around, the sorcerer Yuri taking front rank now with his enchanted axe. Marcus splintered a shield as he was struck by a wight and then Torquil did the same, the two fighters terrified about being touched by any of them. Meanwhile the enlarged Tranis and the Carayn family undead killing sword, “Day Star” was arcing his blows over everyone’s head, ripping whoever was in range into chunks of bloody meat.

And then the necromancer hit our group with a sleep spell and 3 of our front line fell over. More shields were burst (including Auri splintering her own shield!) as we pushed forward at the same time the undead tried to push into us, the two lines blurring and bending as we tried to get everyone up in time. Steiner called to Apollo to turn the undead, giving us a brief respite (and some blows to their back as they were trying to flee) as the rest of us hurled stones, spears, and spells at the enemy (as well as slap, kick, and pinch the sleeping members to get up once more). A pair of summon nature’s ally spells went off, a honey badger (he don’t give a shit!) hitting the necromancer’s shield, while a deadly viper also showed up, getting under Karstimis’ shield…and biting him. Poison!

As we were staggering to our feet and making some room, taking down Sanford in the process, we heard the dwarf himself coming closer, along with another batch of undead (ghouls, skeletons, and wights according to Marcus). The party backed up while Pecheri was pushing his way to the front. The new undead came into view and were repelled thanks once more to Steiner and Apollo. Our spells were winding down and we wanted to get this over with quickly.

The fleeing undead slowed up the dwarf’s approach, snarling the stairs with too many bodies. Karstimis was slumping over, pleased to have killed the viper, but dying from the crazy toxins in his body.

At this point Dardrum’s final undead came into the chamber, slamming out at us in a wave of necrotic flesh and grasping limbs. Swords slashed and spears stabbed. And Pecheri finally let loose his exploding arrow at the approaching dwarf – missing!! Missed! How the fuck can you miss? You’ve been saving that arrows for weeks and when it’s important you blow it! Douchebag!

A final turning by Steiner and the undead stopped and began to reverse, many of them cut down while retreating. Pecheri meanwhile was storming forward getting lightly struck by a flying spiritual hammer in the process, but shooting arrows at closing range – two of them the shafts that Curufin had prepped with the Gorgon’s hair venom earlier. And this caused racking pains to flood the priest of Hades, making him unable to get enough concentration to cast a spell successfully.

And through it all, Pecheri kept stalking forward, bow firing again and again. Even with the dwarf’s entropic shield, more than enough arrows got through. And the dwarf was unable to stem the tide of hurt or the pain he was suffering under.

The rest of the party beat at the last of the undead, only one of them managed to escape back up the stairs – when Dardrum’s last surprise came out of the wall assaulting us…a wraith. Non-corporeal, requiring magic items to strike it, life hating and warmth devouring, it flowed against the group like a thousand black flies – vapor thin and utterly devoid of warmth – we scrambled to do damage to it while also avoiding being touched in return.

It flitted across the melee ranks, no mind of front or space, the party racing to avoid contact with it. Those who could do nothing, fled back up the corridor to stay safer; those who could strike – did so with determined abandonment. The wraith grew ragged and indistinct and then with a cold breeze, burst apart and faded away.

As a final ignominy, Pecheri walked right up to Dardrum, looked him square in the eye, and shot him with the final arrow in his neck @ 3’ away, killing him. The battle over, we pressed on to the final room…only to see it empty. The last necromancer and whatever goods were in here? Gone. A tome that had obviously sat on a lectern? Missing. We pooled together what we had found and cast a detect magic on them – finding most of our friend’s magical items as well as some of the items the followers of Hades had. We gave Castus first pick of 4 magic items, the druid nice enough to return our ring of enhanced healing. The poison earring and Auri’s sword were taken as booty, along with some other items the dwarf had.

There was a large black mirror in the room that NO ONE wanted to touch or fuck with – assuming it was a portal that lead out of here to somewhere – and we were in no condition to follow it through or out. At this point we learned that Pecheri had already slipped out and was gone. Castus and company were going to leave next and we wished them well – eventually would meet them in Shakun in some weeks from now. They were going to get their petrified companion Tauris and head to Gul to find a mage or apothecist with the skill to turn stone back to flesh.

We picked our way OUT of the dungeon after all had gone, getting what treasures we had passed along the way (Pecheri’s arrows, a pewter bowl and cup, 4 small barrels of Barmeer Bold Brown Ale, the chitin from the colossal beetles slain earlier, etc…) eventually making it to the main entrance and then out.

It was here that we were going to have Marcus read from the book and Tremble the dungeon, burying all within and making sure no one could go back and make use of this place again.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Meet 77, Adv 4, 3/14/15

Depending on how long it would have taken the party to catch up with the hired bandits/adventurers would have dictated how far along they were, how tired they were, and how much attrition would have eaten at their group.

The other group had encountered: carrion crawlers, 3 zombies, small wave of skellies and carrion crawlers before they laid down a suppressive fire and backtracked, 5 giant mosquitoes, 2 colossal beetles, and were currently engaged with a Gorgon (not the bull type - old style medusa/harpy combo ala Clash of the Titans). They had lost 2 of their animal companions, over half their healing potions and goodberries, about 50-60% of their spells, and about 1/3 of their missile weapons by the time the group caught up and was able to join forces and help.

What remained was 2 potential fights - 1 with the main lieutenant of the dwarf priest along with his own 5 count of zombies and 3 hellhounds (plus a nasty surprise of some crawling hand type things) - the 2nd with the dwarf himself and his remaining staff (including a 2nd necromancer AND a wraith that I've been holding onto since the beginning as it originally in the room with the dumped over wagon and the Matriarch and Patriarch - it's been spying on the group each time they've come in and reporting back to the dwarf of the party's capabilities). We hit the first fight this meeting, truncating it with a well placed use of our own priest of Apollo's fear staff - the 2nd and much more dangerous encounter would be the next meeting.

Write up follows:

Once all prepared and reloaded with goodberries and holy water/wine, we hightailed it back to the Griffanus Estate and the grove along the northern edge. Illana, and the other members of Castus’ group were there, meeting us and assuring the party that the others had gone in some time ago. Whistles had been handed out with the fore knowledge to blow it twice if they needed help. A blast of 1 whistle meant help was on the way.

They informed us that there had been some sounds of combat early on but since then, only faint echoes very far away. We thanked them, asked them to sit tight, and then descended to the cavern ourselves.

At the entrance room there was signs of a combat with one of the carrion crawlers but we moved on from here. Erd and Steiner each had torches for the front and middle of the group, while Funis had his enchanted mace help up for light. We travelled on, staying along the paths we had already been on, taking shields along the way as we expected to need them at the end.

In the cart room we had seen signs that three of the zombies had come out from the narrow corridor and Castus’ party had dispatched them. Beyond was the Death dog room, empty, and then the stairs over the pits – a bridge established there by the dwarf and his people we suspected.

From here we did not go north towards where we had lost Auri and the others, instead we travelled east – the corridor sloping very faintly down over 140’ of echoing footsteps. And then eventually we came to a new room. The walls were covered with a beautiful hand painted mural showing Hades and most of the legends about him. However, they had a decided slant to them in their depiction, aggrandizing Hades and his accomplishments and dimunizing others. Also, it was apparent that some sort of elven figured had been painted in as cruel and capricious creatures.

There was a single corridor out of here along the east wall, but there was also a section of the wall that had been defaced with pick – the part showing Persephone willingly and wantonly joining Hades in the underworld – direct opposition to the belief held by most followers of Demeter (and the other good aligned gods). The whacking of it by the other group though did reveal a passage (secret) behind the mural.

Looking down it went 20’ and opened to a room. However after entering the hall and closing the door, we noted a yellow a gray wavering light from the room and no one wanted to go down to see what was there – so we left it.

We took the main corridor and traveled along until we arrived at a chamber with 2 other ways out of here and some grit and filth on the floor. According to Tranis who spent some time scouting, it seemed that a massive set of prints went out and back in along the south corridor but only showed going out along the northern one – so we went that way. The corridor went for a while until we came to some bloody smears on the floors and some bandages discarded.

From there we then emerged to a very large chamber with two colossal dead beetles in it. Both had signs of combat trauma, arrows, and many signs of burn marks crisscrossed the chamber. One beetle was almost 8’ tall and a thousand pounds, the other maybe 5’ tall and 300#. There was also a dead dog here, letting us know that Castus had been taking some losses. We faintly heard some noises far ahead – so we pressed on.

We went down one set of stairs, and heard sounds of combat, with Castus hollering at Pecheri to, “stop fucking around and fucking shoot her already!”. We moved on, faster and with care, until we finally came to another set of stairs going down and then stopped to look.

The chamber was sizable and there was about 2/3rds of a peasant’s hut dropped here. A few figures (statues) were shown running from the house in obvious fear. Castus and group were on the far end of the chamber holding a battle line behind Torquil and the 3 oversized dogs, the entire room bathed in an Obscurement spell, reducing clear visibility to almost nothing.

They were fighting a 7 1/2’ tall winged woman with a snake’s tail, a javelin firing bow, asps for hair, and we assumed glowing eyes. Medusa…gorgon. And from here, we could see that one of Castus’ group had already been turned to stone.

Fuck.

We had to join up but did NOT want to get caught by the Gorgon. So we decided that we would one at a time charge across the 14’ of clear ground and dive behind the remains of the hut, coming around it to eventually join up with Castus and the others. Not all would go at once, some of the party would wait here until we could add our strength to theirs and then invite the others over.

Great plan. But Steiner decided that it was missing something so called upon Apollo to bless everyone – really loud. Which then made the rest of the group scramble. The Gorgon was still fighting the druids’ group, but the edge of the Obscurement spell was only 8’ to her south, and if she ran in our direction – her gaze could stone most of the party. Half the group ran backwards up the stairs while others charged out with eyes clenched shut and dove behind the house, Castus roaring for us to hurry up.

But while we were charging forward, it was Steiner who wound up getting stuck behind the house, his armor hanging on the sharp outcroppings of the wall. With no way to get past him quickly, the cleric dragging himself forward, we were in dire straits. That’s when Marcus took out Wipztar’s tome and thumbed across to the page marked, “Boil” – where he read it and pointed it in the Gorgon’s direction.

We had noted though that subsequent readings of the book seemed to increase in power – and this was no exception – as the Gorgon’s entire head was awash in pustulating boils, blood was flowing, then her head was steaming and she screamed before her brain boiled and the pressure burst her skull – killing her.

We all convened together and shook hands, sharing what had gone on to this point in time. Cururfin used his poisonry skill to milk a few of the asp’s venom from the Gorgon’s head and smeared it on a few arrows – which were then given to Pecheri. A huge group now, we moved on, heading towards the end of the dwarf’s lair.

Some turned brought us to a kitchen where a single table with a mug and plate sat. There was an oversized larder here with tones of dried foods and vegetables. But we got the feeling that someone had just been here and had moved on ahead. So we followed, bows spears and spells at the ready.

The passage went on until it was opening to a large chamber and a voice from ahead called out for us to “Stop.” We had gone far enough, Dardrum (the dwarf?) was done and tired of us and our interference and we should turn and go now. Failure to do so would result in only our deaths.

Our thoughts? Fuck this guy – and we charged in.

Long room, 3 hellhounds, 5 zombies, and one wild haired death loving necromancer hiding behind them all. The hellhounds were a pain in the ass immediately, extra fire damage, strong, determined. The zombies were also well behaved, fighting with tactics and in unison. The necromancer hurled a series of meteors at us, splattering them around the party. Tranis was beset by some of the hounds who tried to drive him backwards – towards a section of the room that sloped down to a pit and then somewhere else – garbage chute.

The lead three zombies hurled severed arms at the group who then tried to scramble up and attack us. But it was here that Steiner used his staff of fear and hurled a blast at the necromancer – sending him to run screaming from the chamber. Castus followed up with a Quench spell and the flames from the hellhounds ended. With Karstimis the necromancer gone, the zombies were no longer fighting with tactics and the group was able to take them down easier.

Just as we polished off the final one, we could hear from down the corridor angry voices, we assumed the dwarf Dardrum threatening to take us down, and then LOTS of charging figures coming our way. So we squared off, took ranks throughout the chamber, and got ready to face off with Dardrum and his horde of approaching undead.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Meet 76, Adv 4, 3/7/15

Not quite how I had expected it.

When I had first penned this adventure down, I knew it was well above the character's capabilities and knowing their penchant as of late - expected they would hire some people to help.

My fault was in not letting the players know (even subtly) that this was my plan. There was a party of adventurers already in the area - as bandits - and they as a group are slightly more tough than the party.


Te expectation was that they would split up at one point with the group directing the bandits to the dungeon while the party took care of other matters top side. After the last almost TPK we had a come to the table moment and the party then realized what I had been hinting at (which was a shame- because the party leader (as the person) DID figure it out just before the last TPK meeting and was already going towards the idea of doing that - but was absent at the table in real life that night).

So for this meeting - we had 1 first of 4 major end of campaign combats - and this one I expected was to be the party's entirely. And they did terrific. First class job, everyone worked together, and everyone performed their role perfectly without stepping on other people's toes.


Write up follows:

We awoke early enough and broke our fast. From there we discussed spell choices and tactics for a while before readying ourselves for the trip back to the Griffanus Estate and eventually the dwarven cavern.

We met up our hirelings (Liscinia, Vestanus, and Funis) first and then proceeded to the apartments to gather up Castus and his band of adventurer bandits. We travelled off towards the Thanach homestead where we picked up Pecheri and introductions were made. Our numbers were the party of 6, and Flimflam’s two animals, the three hirelings, Castus’ band of 11, their 7 animal companions, and Pecheri – bringing us to a total of 30. It was time to end this Hades threat once and for all.

We looked over the Griffanus Estate though and felt very uncomfortable. A haze had settled over the entire place, a prickling to our skin, and assault to our senses. It was quiet, and just foul. No one wanted to risk walking near the home or going through the gate. Instead we travelled around the entirety of the Estate to the north side nearest the grotto and clambered over the wall one at a time…on guard and waiting.

Even the burbling water was a mere sodden pulse, the grasses cold and yellowing, the trees tired and worn. Nothing made us feel at ease.

As for the cavern entrance, the stairs went down 10’…and ended at a wall. A wall that was not there 3 days earlier. It was featureless and smooth and we distrusted it completely. Castus’ people had sledges and picks and they assaulted the wall for 15 minutes plus until the stones that comprised eventually shifted and weakened enough and we were able to knock a hole in it large enough for us to pass under and through.

A lit torch was tossed in. The stairs continued 10’ further down, then a sloping corridor…and then another wall.

This meant more time. And our attempts at entering had not been quiet. The dwarven necromancer and his ilk had to know we were here and getting closer. Flimflam and Castus discussed the situation and decided that our party would go to the Griffanus house and check it out while Castus and his people finished knocking a hole in the 2nd wall. We agreed and left the grove, heading closer to the house itself.

Based upon Erd and Tranis’ estimation from a few days ago, the strange decrepitness and aging of the home seemed to have advanced, no longer confined to the interior, but encompassing the exterior as well. We circled the house twice, not trusting the porch, the windows, the doors…nothing. It just was howling to all of our senses that this was wrong.

The call was given to burn it to the ground, and if there was a 2nd entrance in the house somewhere, it would be better to pick through the rubble than to risk entering. The party was in agreement and a torch was applied to one corner. The dry-rotted and withered timbers went up swiftly and in no time, the roof had caught. The thatch insulation under the shingles spread the fire across the entire house and in a short time black flames and smoke were reaching skyward. The party backed up and watched the house burn with a critical eye.

When the upper cross beams finally gave way and collapsed to the main floor, it spread the fires even more and cause the center of the house to sag in. The fires rose higher and then there was an odd crack, followed by a burst of heated air and a rising purplish plume that eventually turned to regular fire.

What the fuck was that?

While the group was discussing it, there was the crack of thunder in the air to the south near the Thanach home. We raced around the fires and ran to a clear section so we could see better, and what we saw made our blood run cold. A floating giant like figure composed of necrotic flesh was on the OTHER side of the Thanach home and bounding up and down, heading away from the area and towards the town.

Crap.

We shouted to Castus’ man that we were in pursuit and that they should press on to the dwarf; the group would follow afterwards. And then we ran. It was over 300’ away when the chase began and we found ourselves spreading out as the slower and heavily armored members were left behind. When the range dropped to 200’ and less we let loose long and short bows; arrows plunging into the floating figure. To no avail. We needed to get closer.

Meanwhile it had crossed the barrier of the Thanach Estate and was now in another homestead, the peasantry there running for their lives. We ran on, closing the gap with each pounding step. More arrows flew and seemed to do nothing. Closer now we could see the figure was over 14’ tall and composed of multiple pieces of dead flesh stitched together somehow in the crude parody of a man; giving it greater size and breadth. No one wanted to get too close.

That’s when we had Curufin and Encrinus start to sling the vials and vials of holy water (from the church of Zeus) and holy wine (left over from the church of Demeter). They worked wonderfully. The undead golem howled and shivered, its flesh twisting under the smoking residue of the blessed water. Its guts were trailing under it like some morbid balloonist’s tethers, the entrails scoring the ground and killing every blade of grass it touched. More holy water followed and it roared in response.

Some of its guts flashed against the earth hard and then a zombie burst from the ground and stormed towards the party. This is where Funis and Tranis (with Steiner and a couple of the other members trailing up behind) ran interference, the two main fighters meeting the zombie head on and their enchanted weapons taking it down before it could even return a blow.

The goliath meanwhile was floating lower and crouching down, digging its stitched together toes into the earth…and then it jumped forward, clearing much of the space between it and the house and leaving us momentarily uncomfortably out of range – and it that much closer to town.

We ran forward again, more flasks flying, while the monstrosity worked its way over the house (collapsing part of it in the process) and its guts popped up 2 more zombies. Flimflam called to Demeter and summoned a hippogriff to stand before the zombie, hoping to slow it down, while Marcus was calling for flasks of oil as well. Funis with his enchanted mace and Tranis armed with the Day Star made a remarkable duo and kept the constantly summoned zombies down to a manageable number.

It was while the floating zombie was passing the unharvested wheat field that Flimflam had a brain spark and cast Entangle in the area, wrapping the stalks of wheat around it’s legs and pulling it down from the sky – stopping it in its tracks.

From here we had a constant barrage of oil and holy water plied against the zombie figure, boiling off large swaths of the monster and causing all sorts of fetid morass to stain the earth below. The hippogriff had made the mistake and flew too close, killed outright from the zombie’s terrible blows, and the summoned hobgoblin Marcus called upon next didn’t last a dozen seconds when the floating undead thing caught it in its grasp and crushed it’s chest.

We were tearing it shreds with vials and vials of holy water and burning oil, slowly and steadily round after round. No one wanted to dare close within striking distance especially after Flimflam tried to summon a baboon right next to the undead creature and attack it…but it was caught just as it appeared out of thin air and destroyed in 3 seconds.

The figure tore out a handful of its own guts and hurled them in the party’s direction! Liscinia held the ground, her tower shield presented wide ways while as many who could huddled behind it and her. The ropy guts did score the magical steel face like acid – but our shield bearer’s resolve held true as she deflected all the missiles coming out ways and kept the party safe.

The entangle spell would not let the figure flee, no matter how many times it hunched down and attempted to tear free. Its form shivering, awash with both flaming oil in places and sodden with holy water in others, it finally collapsed to the field and fell over and apart. To Tranis holding the Day Star and to Flimflam, druid of Demeter (and hater of all things Hades), they both suddenly felt a wave of satisfaction flow them coupled moments later by an keen interest to run back towards the Griffanus Estate and finish off the dwarven necromancer stationed underground there.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Meet 75, Adv 4, 2/21/15

There was a late start, some conversation, and a lot of LARPing at this meeting which meant we didn't get as far as we could have, but we did have a good time. It has been cold, terrible cold, this winter, and I am sure that I dropped the ball by not putting the heat on in the game room early enough for this meeting.

Write up follows:


After returning to the Mane and Tail for a quick meal, we then went to the Heatherfield Gemsmith to talk with Liscinia. Her father met us (human) and got our measure before allowing us to go to the back of the shop and met with Liscinia. She came down, same but different. A larger woman (half elven), but somehow contrite and concerned. She was bothered that Flimflam wasn’t here to talk to her but was reassured when we explained that he was up in Dairymeade getting more support.

Tranis spent time explaining to her what had happened and what had gone wrong – but mostly to assure her that we needed her on this final foray to take out the dwarf. She was hesitant but through our discussion was able to get some concessions: she wanted 7 nobles/day instead of 5, wanted to know that we had a plan and would be following it to take out the dwarf, and finally wanted to make sure that no one would be left behind this time. Tranis promised that we would do what we can and to have her meet us on the morning 2 days hence.

Our next stop was to meet Funis at a tavern near Fleaside, the talkative and gregarious fighter thrilled to be invited back and was looking forward for the opportunity to “kick some more ass” as he put it. We did cover his bar bill (for him and his friends who were pretty hammered at this time) and had the bartender promise to cut him off soon.

We then went to call on Vestanus the porter who was willing to come but was hoping to double his salary (since it was so damned dangerous) to 2 nobles/day. Tranis let him know that as long as Flimflam agreed, we’d be happy to have him along.

7:15 had us visiting Sripinius’ family where his mother was just distraught and heartbroken. There had been no body brought back so they worry that he trapped on the banks of the River Styx in the afterlife with no way to reach to other side. They asked us that if we could find his body to bring it back and we them miserable and in tears.

The last of Tranis and company was to look for a torchbearer and the idea was tossed around to go to the jail and see if there was anyone we could “borrow”. Turnkey Bryson met us and Tranis had some discussion with him. Heatherfield has been very prosperous as of late so there were not many debtors for us to take. What he did have were some violent criminals and some arsonist and we opted to meet with two men who had been in for assault, and the 2 arsonists.

We were unimpressed. Although at the end of all things, Tranis suspected that one of the violent offenders was going to shiv the other one soon. He left without making any promises to take any of the men and returned to the Mane and Tail to end the night.

Flimflam and company left Dairymeade early on the 27th with Castus and the rest of the Grey Haven bandits in tow. They pressed on the entire day until coming close to Heatherfield. The decision to not go into town with wanted bandits was bandied about so we thought about squirreling them at the Thanach Estate. But the Homestead was seemingly quiet and under a pall and no one wanted to risk it. Same with sleeping in some farmer’s barn – what if someone told the Sheriff?

Castus let us know that there was an apartment building not too far from the edge of town in the half-elven ghetto where he and his have hidden out in the past. He gave a bag of coins to Geld (who was still a woman thanks to Hestia) to arrange payment and stay for one night while everyone hid down the main road some ¼ mile from town. Once the place was assured we snuck Castus and his people in where they went into the apartment and got rest for the night.

A short visit to the Temple of Demeter followed and then by 11:30 we had gotten to the Mane and Tail where we discussed upcoming tactics and spell choices before going to bed knowing that tomorrow we would be heading out to confront the dwarf for the last time.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Meet 5, Adv B2, 2/17/15 - Youth Group

The two of them had another game night and they were going out in a group of 7 to hunt down the mountain lion that that killed another party’s thief. The mountain lion was going to harry the party with hit and run attacks before the mad hermit would make his appearance.

The Mad Hermit is one of those things that can spell a TPK to an unprepared party and as it was, it was a close thing here. At the end of the fight, we had one character with 6 hp, one with 3, 2 with 2, and 3 with 1 hp each. And no more healing. Another successful strike from the lion OR the hermit and it would have permanent death to anyone at the group.

But the Mad Hermit is written up in such a way that he is a travelling holy man, and I played it as such. Such an imposing figure and a terrible fight, that his battle cries about the Silent Gods were chilling. As it is – the two of them spent a few days in real life occasionally calling one another and saying, “The Silent Gods Hate You!”

Write up follows:

It took us half an hour to get to the part of the trail near where Jakes and his party had made camp – and from there, we set off into the woods to the north. Jakes, Sparks, and Darren all felt that we had to head north and northwest to find where Larson had been assaulted, but no one was entirely sure. Hoping to get more of a view, Charlotte offered to climb a tree but after only 8’ or so off the ground, a branch gave way and she slipped down.

As we were helping her up, a brown and black mountain lion burst from the underbrush and hit Corg, tearing into the fighter’s back before leaping away a few of our arrows trailing after him. His wounds were treated and then we set off looking again.

The afternoon waned and the light was slowly failing. Charlotte was convinced she smelled soup but wandering around the darkening woods we didn’t find the source. We kept going, northwest this time, keeping a ready eye out for our quarry. The forest became wilder, less safe, no sign of trails or anything.

Eventually we heard a creaking and the party slowed down, eventually beholding a large oak looking tree. Near the trunk, hanging, was a humanoid figure. A noose vine was wrapped around his throat, his fingertips trapped under the noose as well, and flesh purplish and rotting. And he slowly, slow, swung back a forth a few inches live some macabre pendulum, creaking from the branch above.

It freaked all seven of the party out. They wanted to cut him down, but didn’t want to get close. They shot the body, an arrow sinking into the dead flesh with a wet thunk. Nothing happened. Jakes offered to step forward and cut the man down. We watched with quiet care as the burly fighter stepped up to the dead man and lifted his sword.

And the group watched in horror as fresh nooses dropped from the tree above and landed around Jakes. He managed to duck a bit away but it looped around his up-stretched sword arm and lifted tight. His sword fell from his grasp and he was being elevated. William dared to run to Jakes while the rest of us were screaming at him to get free. As more nooses were dropping, William leapt and slashed the one holding Jakes up – severing the vine and dropping the fighter back to the ground. He gathered his fallen sword and the group ran back and away from the hangman’s tree.

We opted to no longer head north or northwest, between the failing light and the fear of what worse could be out there. We instead wanted to head back south and get out of the forest while there was a scrap of daylight. So we headed that way until the twilight came and night fell and we were lost in the woods.

Jakes and William took over now: we lit torches and two teams went out to collect LOTS of firewood with the remaining three would clear out an area to sleep at as well as make a fire pit. Once established, the group shared what food was in their pouches, shot the breeze for a little bit, and then drew up an order to keep watch – no less than 2 people on a given time. Charlotte and William would take first watch and would then awaken Sparks and Darren, who would then awaken Loq and Corg, and finally Jakes would have last watch by himself.

So the group went to sleep, the two friends stayed near the fire, keeping the flames bright and cheery, staving off the night chill and keeping the darkness away. They chatted quietly about the inability to find the mountain lion again or discover where Larson went. They also wanted to get back to town for a little bit and then get back to the Caves.

It was around 10 PM or so when the two friends heard a voice from the dark call out, “Hail the fire! Can I approach?” William said sure while Charlotte quickly awoke the rest of the party. The man can into the light, over 50, wiry grey hair, sort of a hunchback, wild eyes, oversized nose with a mole on the side of it, clad in layers of scavenged clothes and cloaks.

He identified himself as Martigan, a travelling holy man who preys to “all gods from all times should they want to hear my voice.” We were very distrusting of him but shared the fire, Martigan sitting between Jakes and Darren. He talked at length for a bit, preaching lightly, until it was dropped that “all people are loved except for thieves. Dirty rotten untrustworthy shits – they deserve nothing but to die.”

Charlotte was very bothered at him and the rest of the group was getting uncomfortable. But he asked her if she was loved? And she said yes. So he nodded, said, “Maybe, but the Silent Gods hate you,” and he snapped his fingers pointing at her.

And the mountain lion leapt from the trees above and tore into Charlotte, dropping her to 0 and killing her.

Martigan began laughing at this and drew a wicked 11” knife from a fold in his cloak, laying open Jakes’ scalp in a 6” slash across his face. Darren tossed one of the last 3 elixirs to Loq while Corg and William assaulted the mountain lion, trying to get it off of Charlotte’s dying form. They succeeded, the two fighters getting slashed in the process by the large cat’s claws.

The thief no longer under the feline’s claws, Loq was able to stabilize her, bringing her back north of 0 hp. Meanwhile Jakes was having a difficult time in hitting the wiry Martigan; in fact one blow that looked like it would connect instead was turned aside by a flash of eldritch blue light.

Sparks had backed up and drew his bow out, readying an arrow to shoot when the crazed hermit whirled on one foot and hurled his Kris bladed dagger the 15’ distance where it plunged into the magic-user’s chest – dropping him to 0. He crowed, “The Silent Gods Hate You!” and dragged another dagger free, reestablishing his attack with Jakes.

Darren raced to Sparks with the one of the last 2 elixirs, plucking the knife free from the wizard’s chest. Meanwhile Loq had gotten Charlotte back to her feet, the thief with tears in her eyes and murder on her lips. She drew her own dagger and joined William and Corg on whittling the mountain lion down, the trio slashing and hacking at the crazed and whirling feline.

Sparks managed to get to his feet, eyed blurry but breathing again thanks to Darren’s efforts. He snatched his bow from the ground and angrily shouted at Jakes to “kill that mad man!” At that point the mountain lion was stabbed deep and gave a dying roar, collapsing to the ground. This caused the mad holy man to grow wroth and leap upon Jakes, plunging his dagger again and again into the fighter’s back, howling about the silent gods hating him. Jakes fell over, bleeding out.

Sparks shot the mad man, but his arrow was turned aside by another flash of blue, and then Martigan leapt over the fire, dagger high, trying to skewer Charlotte. At the last moment William stepped in front of her, taking the blow that would have killed the thief on his own armored chest. Everyone was badly wounded now and Darren used the last healing elixir to bring Jakes back to positive hit points (1!!).

Corg and William tried to push Martigan into the fire but he held his ground, slashing and hacking, daggers whirling. But he was overmatched and outnumbers and with a final round of cuts and stabs, the party managed to bring Martigan down, killing at long last the crazed holy man, who gave a final spitting curse, “The Silent Gods Hate You!”

We bound our wounds, refed the fire, and looked over Martigan. The only thing of interest? An iron ring on his left pinky that would not come over his knobby knuckle. So William plied knife and cut it free. No one knew what to make of it; it had no markings or adornments. William tried it on and it fit his finger and then seemed to snug down, not coming off. There was talk of removing it (with knife!) but Darren and Loq urged the fighter to wait till he got back to the keep and see if it was dangerous or cursed.

We slept the remainder of the night and awoke feeling much better for our rest. Jakes and company told Loq he could have the mountain lion since he had the final blow that slayed it. We shouldered it and set off in the day light back south. It was some half hour later that Charlotte thought she smelled herbs again (soup like) and we all fanned out, finding what we assumed was Martigan’s home – a hollowed out trunk of a tree.

It was cramped inside, mismatched furniture, leaves, and just a mess. Charlotte gave the place a once over, eventually having William help her to toss the leaves on the floor aside. To her eyes, the dirt floor looked d a little disturbed, so she used her dagger and stabbed it all over until she heard a “clank” under the earth. Digging down, the two friends revealed a thin metal box that they took into the sun to open. A check for traps revealed none and then the hasp was busted off and opened.

Inside were gold and silver and a fairly nice dagger with some runes on it. Charlotte wanted it but Jakes wasn’t going to just give it up – they settled on him and his people took the coin while she took the blade. From here we wandered back to the Keep and everyone was a bit sad to part ways. Jakes and his friends were going to the Hospice to heal up a bit and then go back to Larson’s family to give them his share of their treasure before eventually coming back to return to the caves.

Loq and Corg were going to relax and heal up as well, getting a confirmation from the two friends that they would be going back in 2 or 3 days and wanted to hire the two of them again. They agreed and would meet up on the 26th.

From here Charlotte and William went across the training yard to the three towers on the far side of the keep, hoping to talk to the elven sage and wizard named Quasor. It took some doing before we were let in to talk to him but once inside, he was both deferential and interested in our findings.

We showed him William’s ring first and was assured it was not harmful or would kill the fighter. It was not associated with the Silent Gods, but maybe one of the sky gods and associated with protection. Hence why the blue blasts – wearing the ring most likely offered the fighter some protection from physical blows – and the tightness meant that it couldn’t be accidentally removed. He was thankful to have it and nodded his appreciation.

As for the dagger, the runes identified it as “Tranquil Wave” and was one of a group of 4 daggers that used to belong to the King’s Thieves some time ago, a royal group of spies and informers who would protect the king’s interests abroad. The group had been disbanded almost a century earlier and the knives lost over time. It was whispered that the daggers had a strong enchantment upon them, making them shake off rust, fail to bend even under the harshest conditions, and were almost otherworldly sharp.

Charlotte was wondering, if there was one knife here, would the other 3 be as well? They wanted to look out for them in the Caves. And that lead Quasor to ask the group to bring back some goblin viscera for him to use to continue and refine his enchantments on a magic sword he was working on – “Goblin’s Bane”. We would be paid well for our bounty and upon completion of the blade’s sorcery, we were to be given first option to buy the sword.

It was now 10:30 on the 23rd and we had some errands to do and then wanted to go to the Hospice and rest, getting our wounds tended to.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Meet 4, Adv B2, 2/8/15 - Youth Group

The kids had another get together where they had decided to face off on the tougher goblins that had first chased them out, hoping their two hirelings would even out the battle. It was another rout and they ran away. They HAD run across an adventuring party earlier that was down on their luck and they hoped to go back and entice THOSE three to come with them. And they did!

But it was the goblin guards with the Ogre backup and the group had to face off against the single ogre and prevail.

I will also say that after watching Corg almost die and William almost die, they took it more serious. Going so far to agreeing amongst themselves to pay the hired fighter more for the work he does.

Write up follows:

Charlotte snuck down the corridor with care, sticking to the dark patches while her three companions waited back up the passage. At the corner, she peered around to the right and looked into the dimly lit chamber. It was a goblin guard post and there were 6 of the greenskins there. Two were positioned near a trio of barrels, chatting quietly, three others were near a large table, and a sixth was by a fire pit where a haunch of deer meat was cooking slowly. It seemed there were at least two other passages out of here across the chamber.

Satisfied, Charlotte returned and let the group know what they saw. At this point, William organized the group into action. Charlotte and Loq were to take up the back of the party, with bow and sling at the ready. William and Corg were to be in the front, and at his call, we would fire and charge in as one.

The first part went off, but after that it went pear shaped quickly. The goblins were very ready for us and three of them raced towards us, spears out. Two of the goblins dumped the table over and drew themselves behind under cover to hurl spears.

Arrows and sling stones went wild, hitting nothing. And then the goblins crashed into out two fighters. And Corg was stabbed in the shoulder for 6 hp, dropping him to two. Loq withdrew one of his precious elixirs in order to bring Corg back up, while the two fighters swung again and again at the goblins. Getting nowhere.

And then William took a shot to the body, bleeding almost to death. Followed by another spear slash, this one laying his left cheek open from ear to nose, and dropping him to 0. Followed by Corg getting stabbed in the gut this time, the fighter going to -1.

Loq gave Charlotte an elixir to administer to William (bringing him to 2!) and he used his 2nd to last one to stabilize Corg (back at 1!). It was time to leave…again. Charlotte hurled the torch into the closest goblin’s face and then bodily dragged William back and away while Loq did the same for Corg.

The goblins chose to cast derisive comments at our fleeing forms, laughing at us as we ran away from this same group a goblins…a 2nd time now.

Once outside the cave we travelled upslope until we made it to the tree line and finally relaxed. Loq used his LAST elixir to bring Corg to 3 hp while the party bandaged up what hurts we had. We were chased out again. Not acceptable. It was perhaps quarter to 11 and we were not going to call it quits. We needed help.

The group came up with the idea to go back and find that party that had been assaulted by the mountain lion and was spending the day out here to eventually find their missing companion, Larson. Perhaps they would come back with us?

So we set out (wounded, but game) to head half way back to the keep and find the group. Luck was with us as they were still at their encampment. The leader, a burly fighter named Jakes, heard our tale and agreed to help us to “fight this room full of goblins and no place further” for a full share of the treasures found IF we were then to come with him and his two companion (a wizard named Sparks, and a cleric named Darrel) to find their missing thief friend (eaten by a mountain lion??) named Larson.

We agreed to the terms. Darrel used some of his elixirs (and we paid him for it) to heal our two fighters and then we began the long trek BACK to the Caves of Chaos. We filled our three new companions in on what we’ve done so far and how we hoped to do better this time.

Sparks and Charlotte would start with bow fire, and then the three main fighters would run in and if possible, two fighters on 1 goblin. Loq and Darrel would act as support fighters with their war hammers and be close enough to use elixirs should the situation call for it. Everyone agreed it was a good plan and we proceeded down the cave entrance and then the passage in question.

We listened, Sparks able to speak goblins, the wizard informing us that 4 of them were sitting at the table now and eating, laughing about chasing us off earlier, and should they offer any of the food they have to Kronk? Kronk sounded like a leader type but not one the goblins were interested in dealing with.

Not wanting to push our luck or wait any longer, we gathered in position and made ready. The two bow users fired, hitting the closest goblin who was perched on the water barrels and he fell back, screaming and dead. The rest of us moved into position and the battle lines were drawn. The closest goblin was hit hard; his head and left should cloven from his body, while Loq and William took on the next one, hacking him to bits. Three goblins down.

Jakes hit the table with all his might and shoved it backwards against the wall, trapping the two goblins there. Leaving just one. Darrel and Loq ran towards him, warhammers flailing in an effort to keep him at bay.

Of the two goblins pinned, one of them shoved the table back getting a bit of breathing room, while the other was kicking the back wall and hoisting a bag, screaming “Kronk! Kronk! We need you!”

And from behind the thick stone, we heard a deep voice answer, “What?!”

Another warhammer flew, this one missing the single goblin, while Corg and William engaged the one that had pushed the table. Charlotte and Sparks held their arrows until the back of the cave slid up and out stepped a 700 lb, 9 and ½ foot tall, green and brown skinned monstrous Ogre! It was wearing the flayed skin and fur of a brown bear like a shirt, and it held two large branches like clubs, clapping them together.

The lone goblin tossed the Ogre the bag and then pointed at the party. “Help!” it yelled. The Ogre, Kronk, weighed the bag with one hand, tossed it behind him into his lair, and nodded. His club smashed the table aside as he strode further into the room.

Charlotte fired, her arrow hitting the ogre in the forehead! And he plucked the arrow free and snapped it with two fingers. Sparks was waving his hands in mystic passes and readying a spell while Darren and Loq finally finished off their goblin with a pair of blows. The clerics retreated behind Jakes and William while Corg wasted the lone goblin on his side. This left Kronk the Ogre and 1 goblin cowering behind the upset table.

As the Ogre drew up to the party Sparks’ spell finished and he sent an arcane bolt 3’ long blasting straight from the ether before him to splatter into Kronk’s chest. The Ogre staggered back, the eldritch bolt would have killed a strong man. It only seemed to anger the ogre.

And then he was amongst the group.

The party swung and hacked and chopped but the Ogre was made of tougher stuff than the goblin, their blows turned aside or even just ignored. As for Kronk, he battered his club on Jakes, dimpling the fighter’s shield, denting his armor, and causing his head to ring. A nasty pair of bashing drove the fighter to his knees and the group was stunned to see Jakes barely getting back to his feet.

Arrows flew, swords slashed, and Kronk grew weaker and weaker until at long last, the ogre fell over dead. As for the final goblin, the party shot him as he turned to run, the greenskin going down with a squeal and gurgling rattle.

We listened for anyone who might have heard the fight and was coming to investigate, but we seemed to have lucked out. Charlotte and the two clerics went into the Ogre’s lair and looked around while William and the rest of the group stripped the goblins and ogre of anything important, and made ready to leave. Jakes was incredulous at the fact that there was an OGRE there, a bit more than goblin we had mentioned. We did admit that we did not know of the ogre until this moment and was just as surprised as he.

As for treasures, there were tons. The ogre’s lair was filled with bags or various coins, cheeses, brandy. We also took every spear there was to sell; knowing the smith @ the Keep would give us a gold piece for each. There were also arrows, some scrolls, and even a potion. Deciding we have pressed our luck long enough, we bagged up everything, and between the seven of us, managed to get every bit of treasure out.

We left the caves and began our walk back. Jacks suggested we go to the Keep to sell what we can and divide up the goods before going back with him and his group to the woods to find Larson’s lost body and deal with the mountain lion. The group agreed. It was a longer than normal walk back and the party was chatting back and forth about their new found riches and what they were hoping to do with it (horses and valet were mentioned but cooler heads prevailed and said we should not be so quick to spend what we have).

As we were passing the Greenscale River a flat bottomed fishing skiff (boat) with 6 people were on it and called out to ask how we were doing. We replied well and were then asked if we had come from the Caves. We said yes and then were asked if we had gotten any treasure. Some of us said yes and showed the bags but we were getting a bit worried at the questions. Then they finally asked who we were so they can meet us in town and toast to our success. William said his name and then cursed himself for making a terrible blunder…right about the same time that Charlotte gave up hers.

We went faster, leaving the fishing people behind, and the two friends felt they made a terrible mistake and would be on their guard tonight.

At the Keep we went to the Rusty Nail inn and settled down at a table near the back. A few of us went off to sell the spears to the smith while we sold off the cask of beer and the keg of brandy to the innkeep for a tidy profit. We then went through the hundreds of coins and realized we had over 800 gold pieces, 300 silver, and the same roughly in copper. It was crazy! We divided up the loot, each person getting over 100 gold crowns and other coins as well.

It was now 4:30 and once more ready, we were going to head off back with Jakes and his group to hunt down their missing man Larson and take care of the mountain lion once and for all.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Meet 74, Adv 4, 2/7/15

This was a big LARPing night. Every so often I like to do town adventure stuff. The world isn't a vacuum and the group's actions will have repercussions in it. However, it also helps to adopt a less combative time around the table and that was this night. Those not in the limelight I gave important people to play for me and let them take a stance adversely (in some way) to those adventuring.

We had a terrific time. And with others running the NPC show, sometimes they take the party and game in directions I didn't originally plan.

Write up follows:

Towards the end of breakfast we split up into 2 groups: Tranis, Curufin, Erd, and Encrinus were going to talk to the Sheriff about the evacuation while Flimflam and Marcus were going to meet with Lord Gelus Keyser. Geld was going to stay behind as he…she wasn’t feeling well.

So Flimflam and Marcus came to Lord Keyser’s manor house where they were looking for an audience. They besides seeing the Lord, they had the pleasure of sitting with Vicar Sans, 2nd in command with the Temple of Zeus, Steiner Whoreson, visiting priest of Apollo, and Mathias Stabler of the Northern Stables.

They spoke at length about what had gone on and learned that the Stablers really wanted the undead threat taken care of and the road to be kept open – since it represents the best and strongest possible incentive of trade this town has seen with the northwestern section of the kingdom in 20 years. The Temple of Zeus was a bit more concerned as they have been bankrolling the militia for Heatherfield and the men who have died from these undead need to be replaced and that takes time and coin.

It was here that the party let Lord Keyser know that they needed skilled men to help in the caverns below – and this was not going to be with local talent and militia men. But real mercenary types. Specifically, we wanted to go to the bandits that were currently waiting in Dairymeade and convince them to come back and help us in exchange for a full pardon.

It did not go over easily. There was much discussion before it was hesitantly agreed to. However, Castus and his men (and women!) would have to perform and then after the dwarven Hades priest was taken care of, they would be pardoned. However, the exile from Heatherfield would still stand. There was also the undercurrent that if they happened to die in the dungeon, that would be ok. Flimflam did not reply to this. The priest of Zeus also did NOT like the priest of Apollo – who was going to be joining the group on their adventure.

It was also mentioned that there was the search for a magic item to use against wights…and we had heard of a rich family who supposedly had possession of a sword of some renown called the Daystar of Zeus – owned by the Carayn Mechanthouse. Something we would follow up on.

As for Tranis and company, they spoke with the Sheriff’s men, learning that the evacuation of the 5 surrounding (4, the Thanach Estate was already emptied) homesteads was taking place. Which left it open for the group to go to the check out the Griffanus Estate and see if they could find some sign of where they might be or what might have happened.

As they approached the Estate they noted that the air was still, a haze was in the air, and there was nothing…nothing in the area. No one. It just felt…wrong. They did not want to use the gate, so they climbed over the wall…and also felt uncomfortable. Everything was bothering them, their senses were excited, it was just…ill feeling.

There was no birds. Not a blast of wind. Even distant voices and sounds were muted and faint. The party picked their way carefully towards the house, and each noise they made stood out. The door was partially ajar (3 inches), a wraparound porch 4’ deep was 2 steps up. The windows were unshuttered but the party could not see anything directly inside.

No one wanted to step on the porch so they used a pole to force it open. The hinges were rusty and squealed, but we were able to see inside. Lots of dust, more than we would expect. Curufin gave the front door a check for anything odd, seeing nothing. Everything inside just seemed older, more worn, threadbare.

No one wanted to go in. At all. Erd made the attempt, but hesitated at the door, sword out and NOT going in. The decision was made next to encircle the place, looking in windows for anything. They found nothing else. Back at the front they talked and had the idea of leading a sheep (or something like that) in and the see what happened. Encrinus knew a local shepherd family and we followed the Halfling to go purchase a sheep.

They purchased one with a twisted leg for a fraction of a price and came back to the Griffanus home. The sheep grew quiet once on the property and we led it up to the front door. From here we coaxed it to step inside a few paces where it suddenly grew still and quiescent. Erd couldn’t do it, he turned away, feeling terrible. Tranis used the flat of his sword to spur the sheep into the house. It went in, standing there unmoving just inside the front door. Slowly groaning and standing there. The group asked Curufin to give the sheep a nudge. He did so, using his pole – giving it a poke.

And the sheep fell over and died.

We were stunned, looking at the dead sheep.

Erd wrote on the porch in chalk, “warning, do not enter,” and then the group left, returning to the Mane and Tail Tavern in Heatherfield.

We all met up together with Flimflam and Marcus where we shared what we learned and they did the same.

We wanted some people to stay behind and talk to Liscinia, as well as people to go to the Carayn Merchanthouse and try to borrow the sword if they have it. The others in the group would be going to Dairymeade to convince the bandits to come back. Tranis, Steiner, and Encrinus were staying – Flim, Marcus, Erd, Geld, and Curufin were tripping to Dairymeade.

The set off just after lunch and travelled all day, evening, and most of the night, arriving at the village just past the midnight hour. The gate guard informed the party that indeed the bandit group were here (not identified as bandits of course) and at the Laughing Cow Inn. They have been spending money like crazy as well as eating tons of cheese.

We went to the inn and made our way to the bandit leader, Castus Woodwalker and shared a beer and laugh with him. We then went with them to a quiet corner and talked about why we were here. Long and short of it? They didn’t like the deal. There was talk or just going to Gul or Argosility, or Sarscaty and just blending in and never being seen again. They felt that that might be a deadly thing. However, we did talk for a while and convinced them that we needed their help and ultimately, it would be good for them and us.

Castus agreed to helping out – but not all of his men would be going into the “dungeon”, the archers and lesser fighters would be waiting outside to support and watch for Castus and his people to get out. And they get a share of the treasure, and first 4 choices of anything “interesting” found. We agreed and after settling the deal with a handshake, went to turn in, knowing we would be leaving after we awoke tomorrow.

Meanwhile Tranis and his group went to talk to the Carayn family to see if the sword was available for “borrow”. The Carayn family are an old and noble family with landholdings and business interests everywhere. They have tons of money so cannot be bought. Devout followers of Zeus, they cannot be swayed either. The family has been here for 7 generations. The Patriarch Julian has a number of children and grandchild, however his eldest son, Roscoe, is next in line. The two of them have a loving relationship, but it is no mystery that the Patriarch was in failing health and would be dying soon.

They kept the party waiting for a bit until they met with them. We tried to explain why we were there but the Carayn’s didn’t understand. Tranis tried to explain about the demon monkeys but all they got from it was that they would not be upstaged and would get demon gorillas for their party next time. We then tried to explain faster but it was dwarf and necromancer and “McCallister! Get this pipe out of here it’s affecting my father’s emphysema”.

We eventually got around to the silvered sword and the Carayn’s were cagey as to its existence. It took some back and forth and got to the point that it’s a legacy. Everyone had heard of the story of the dead vampire some generations back – but the Carayn family hasn’t had anything like that except for money recently. That then led to possibly getting something in town named for the Carayn family. The group made it his business to let the Carayn’s valet, guardsmen, and help learn about the “undead horde” and that they would need the Daystar of Zeus. Just enough to cause some dissent as they left.

We then left to sit with Lord Keyser to ask about getting his help in this matter. Lord Gelus Kayser was loathe to help but agreed to having the name of the marketplace renamed the Carayn Marketplace. However, while drawing up the contract, he made it very verbose and purposely misspelled the Carayn name to Carrion, his scribe laughing as they did it.

They then returned to the Carayn family where Julian Carayn was pleased to hear about this (Roscoe not so much, threatening to burn the pages at one point). His scribes went to read the contract but they either missed or ignored the section where it was misspelled in regards to the family name. It was only when Julian himself gave it a look over that he noted the mistake. He corrected it quietly, silently pissed at Lord Keyser and his own scribes. Roscoe went to get the sword.

The deal was done, sword in Tranis’ hand (he felt it was a “good” fit to his hand) and we left, heading back to the tavern for now and then going to go talk to Liscinia about wooing her back into helping us.

Ok – all caught up! We are on tomorrow the 21st, so see you all then.

Reminder, write ups can be found @ http://vanadorn.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Meet 73, Adv 4, 1/24/15

New characters once again.

We introduced 2 of the 3 new characters into the group this night and it did not go well. There is a wide range of player types at the table from the serious to the not-so and from the role player to the laid back - and it sort of clashed at this meeting.


We had some time after wards to discuss this as friends (over the next full week and countless emails) and seem to have resolved it, but we'll have to see how the new party gels over the next couple of sessions before I declare the issue resolved.

Write up follows:

The survivors crept their way off the Griffanus Estate, pausing near the actual house briefly. It was dark, no dogs, no smoke from the chimney, no…nothing. It was eerie, unsettling, and utterly spooky. No one dared to enter the house; instead we continued to bring our wounded and hurt to the gate off the property and to Crastori and Oona Thanach.

We spoke with the Thanach at length, getting them to understand that staying here might not be a good idea. In fact, it would be better to abandon the home now. So we had them gather up all their dogs, belongings, and field hands and follow the rest of the party to the town. Once there, many of the field hands went off to family (extended) while the Thanach family followed the group to the Temple of Demeter.

Some of the dogs would be taken in, as well as the children and Selene; the others would have to find other lodgings for now. In addition, this would only be for a week or so and then the temple would have to help the Thanach find someplace else to get shelter.

This then led to what happened to Pawn – and the group regaled the High Priestess with the halfling’s loss and the terror we had to face and fight under the Griffanus home. The only bit of succor we were given was that the higher order undead we might have faced that we destroyed, were most likely not going to be easily replaced. It seemed to be a small comfort to us and as a party we were feeling very outside of our element.

We had lost friends and comrades and had nothing to show for it except being even less capable for a return visit. And the dwarf? Still unseen and most likely more than ready for us.

We needed help. That’s the truth of it.

The High Priest informed us that the Halfling Echinus was hanging out today waiting to talk to Pawn as well as us – and had met up with two elves who had come with the interest in joining the party. Elves? Two of them? And looking for us? Our suspicion meter started pinging. We did not want to deal with this as of now, so snuck out to talk to the Sheriff.

We regaled the local constabulary about what we had seen and what was most likely against us. He was interest in clearing out the estates nearest the Griffanus, as well as finding his missing men. He would be working on clearing them out tomorrow (as well as going to talk to the Lord with the group) but said that he wanted to know that the group was going to stay on this matter and get it resolved. We promised we would try (nothing more) and left him for now, returning to the Temple to meet with the three new possible recruits waiting there.

It did not go well.

There was Curufin a wood elven thief from Woodhelven who did not seem to have most regard for the group. There was a mutilated high elven warrior who has been living with the barbarian tribes in the Beastly Hills named Erd who was questioning the leadership fortitude. And there was Encrinus the Halfling, slinger and confident to the point of pushy – already assuming he was a part of the party and was handling the introductions between the party and the two possible recruits.

It sort of drifted off center when there was talk of a provisional charter where the three potential newbies would act on the party’s behalf to “clear the estates” and maybe check out the Griffanus house. Things were tense and we managed to shelf the idea for now until the next day.

As for our plan? We need everyone to spend some time at the Hospice to heal up. We had to handle the loss of the hirelings as well as our own people. And we needed help – so hiring more locals might be the way to go – but it was more radical if we go back to Dairymeade and present it to the bandits and Master Freebard that we had sent there a week ago. Shortly speaking – come back and help us.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Meet 3, Adv B2, 1/25/15 - Youth Group

My daughter and her friend had a get together after weeks of trying (and this one almost didn't happen). It was a shorter meeting (3 to 5:30) but they picked up right where they left off and played. It was obvious that both of them had read some of the B/X book as they had a keener grip on the rules, as well as possible enemies they were going to meet.

When it was over they wanted to know when they can have another meeting and if possible, would I let them have a marathon sleep over session. Some other time kids.

Write up follows:

The party made the decision to keep exploring onward, but did not want to risk losing the 20 spears they had found. Carrying them further in was not an option, so the group decided to take them out of the cave, and hide them in the brush and leaves there; this way if they were attacked or forced to run, they can still somehow get the weapons before returning to the Keep.

Upon completion, they talked about going to check out one of the corridors near the entrance first but instead opted to go back to the room they had just cleared and continue to the stairs there. It was here that Charlotte went first, inching her way up with care and checked for any traps that might be found – seeing none. At the top of the stairs, there was a landing of stone and then another flight of stairs went up and to the right. She motioned back and William, Loq, and Corg joined her up the steps before the entire party continued along their way.

The top of the 2nd flight showed a corridor that went on for 20’ before stopping at an iron banded door. There was some writing over the door that upon closing the group was able to read as: “Come in – We’d Like to Have You For Dinner”. It did not inspire the group with confidence. Neither did the pair of skulls hanging from spikes over the door’s lintel.

After some discussion, the party wanted to open the portal and see what was beyond. William volunteered to open the door, Corg standing in front of the fighter, his own shield and sword at the ready. Charlotte held the torch high and everyone agreed that if it seemed too much, they were going to bolt and run.

They counted to three and William turned the knob and hit the door with his shoulder. And it didn’t move. Barred from the other side. It did make a lot of noise and the group heard goblin voices within call out in their own language. Charlotte tried to answer they were friends but the foes on the other side didn’t seem to understand. Instead they slid the bar aside on their end and opened the door.

It was a large chamber, poorly lit, and housed maybe almost 20 goblinoid creatures. Signs of their habitation were everywhere (piles of clothes, food, other stinky mounds of god knows what). But these goblins were larger than the ones they had met earlier. Taller, beefier, they had shocks of orangey hair on the top of their head and under their armpits and from their shoulders. The smell was stronger, and they just looked dangerous.

The group wanted to leave. And now. William whipped out a flask of oil and smashed it to the ground just inside the door, sending the hobgoblins back a step…allowing Charlotte the chance to light it. The whoosh of flame sent everyone back, and gave the important time needed for the party to run back down the steps and away. William and Corg with their platemail fell behind, emerging from the cave last. The party grabbed the hidden spears and began the long walk back to the Keep.

At the gates they made their way and then to the bazaar where a weapon merchant was willing to buy the spears. There was some back and forth haggling but they settled on 1 gold piece each. We then went through all the funds we had earned and gave everyone one fourth – each member getting 5 gold, 5 silver, and 30 copper pieces. Loq and Corg wanted to know when the group was going back, everyone deciding on 2 days. We bid them a farewell and went off to tavern to relax, get a space in the common room, and discuss what would be next.

Charlotte worked on making fire arrows over the remainder of this day and the next, while William frequented the bar, bazaar, and shops – spending copper and silver in hopes of learning anything new. His persistence paid off when he learned that some mage had lost a magic wand somewhere in the environs of the Caves and was willing to pay 200 gold crowns for its return.

So it was the next morning after breakfast we met up with Loq and Corg, paying them for their service to come, and then we set off.

It was over halfway back to the caves of Chaos that we came upon a group of four men by the side of the road, scratched up and tired. They said they had been pursued during the night by a crazed mountain lion that followed them from a woodcutter’s cottage throughout everywhere they tried to sleep that night. They had even lost one of their members, a thief named Larson. We wished them well and said that if they wanted to meet up in the future and join forces, the party would be interested.

The rest of the walk involved the group talking about the strangeness of the mountain lion associated with the same strangeness of the vulture they had seen earlier. William guessed that the evil rituals in the area might be affecting the animals – slowly making them crazier and less able to be approached.

We came back to the ravine and the caves, seeing little changed if anything. We snuck back to the original cave we had already explored a few times, lit a torch, and entered with care. The only thing that was obviously different was the abundance of spider webs along the forward and left choice passages. Not trusting them, Charlotte opted to burn the left corridor free of webs first – the line of fire dancing away, dropping smaller crispy spider bodies everywhere.

She then turned to the forward passage to do the same, but her torch and fire startled a large spider the size of a small dog out of the webs above her, that fell to the ground and startled her, allowing it get close enough where it tried to bite her. She scrambled back, just avoiding its fangs as it made the attempt to bite. She swung her torch and hit the spider. Full on solid hit, knocked it to the ground, and set its hairy back on fire.

The spider made to run away back down the corridor when William’s sword arced out, splitting its abdomen wide open and severed two of its legs. Green ichor splattered all over the fighter as the spider rolled over dead. Loq supplied him with a towel where he wiped most of the thick portions off his face. The group then wanted to head off to the right and go back to the goblins that had originally chased the first two friends out of the cave 3 or 4 days ago.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Meet 72, Adv 4, 1/17/15

It was this meeting that the fecal matter hit the oscillation device. Through a number of bad decisions and split party - a few over zealous wandering monsters coming in, and just poor luck, we managed to carve out a possible TPK.

The group also met their first level draining undead - wights. Two at first, they killed them but the wights managed to kill off two of the party - which meant they will rise as wights.

Upon escaping to the surface it was just stunned and exhausted expressions amongst the players and a feeling of despair.

Write up follows:

Using the light of the wheel we noted that the side corridor preceded some 12 paces and then turned at a crisp 45 degree angle to the right. No signs or marking anywhere. Zeta and Tranis worked their lit up wheel forward to the turn, the party pacing behind with care, and looked onward, seeing another 10-12 paces and then another 45 degree to the right. The corridor was also showing more sign of work, the walls becoming smoother, the ceiling and floor more square edged.

At the next corner, the changes to the passage continued until there were no longer any features or signs; the entire place looking almost like it was poured into place. The passage only went 7 paces or so before turning to the left.

Once more Zeta and Tranis made their way to the front, peering around to see what was beyond here. The passage went 10’ and then opened to some chamber at least as large as our light source went and then beyond there. There were either paintings or ink drawings on the walls, starting just before the entrance of the room. From what we could tell they were of Hades and in some he was standing with the other Olympians, in others he was working with his adherents.

We rolled the wheel back and Zeta gave the chamber a good look with his infravision, surprised to see it was warming up from the current 65 through the entrance area all the way to 100 or so at the far end of his mission. There was nothing else in the room. From there we brought the wheel back to illuminate the area and tested waving our hands and arms past the entrance. There was an odd tingling sensation to be sure, but that was it.

Upon finally stepping into the room that we felt a sort of increase in temperate, maybe a handful of degrees. And when we left, we cooled off again over time. Through a variety of trials and errors, we discovered that the further one went into the chamber, the ultimately higher the temperature reached.

We could not see enough of the room so the decision was made to unrope the wheel and send it rolling into the room. The light spell on it should illuminate more of the chamber and let us not get screwed over or caught up in anything we weren’t ready for. So we pushed the wheel in, it rolled almost 25’ and then fell over. The chamber was almost 50’ long and there was another exit on the far side that made a turn to the right, some sort of slope leading down and away.

Zeta was once again picked to check the area out, eventually getting across the chamber with exaggerated care. It grew very hot, 100 plus. He doused his entire waterskin across his body to keep the metal buckles and braces from possibly burning his skin as we as to provide some relief. From what he could see the corridor sloped 20 degrees for 12 or so paces and then turned to the right where the corridor fed into a set of stairs going down.

We talked about our options at length, deciding at long last on two things: 1) we wanted to get the wheel back so we walked into the hot room and rolled it back to the entrance. 2) Zeta could check further but he must bring someone and that person shouldn’t be wearing metal armor. Auri volunteered and the two of them drew weapons and made their way across the room. It did indeed grow warm and then hot, the two of using only their infravision to provide any sight as they walked. The rest of the party watched as they disappeared into the dark and were gone, everyone readying weapons and gear.

Zeta and Auri made their way to the stairs, made sure there was no issue, and began walking down slowly. According to their infravision, the corridor went down steps before coming to another left hand turn with another sloping set of corridor going down. They proceeded with care, moving quietly and surely.

And then something flared near Auri from both walls, momentarily spoiling their heat vision. It came from a pair of Hades’ painted faces, two glyphs, briefly illuminating the stairs. And revealed at the limit of Zeta’s vision (who was the rearmost of the two), an eight count of skeletal figures coming out of a secret room from the “heat room” and heading their way. Seven of them armed with spears and a few shields raced towards the two friends, while the last one withdrew a sling and hurled a caltrop bag at the entrance where the rest of the group was.

Shit. Auri and Zeta swapped positions ready to assault the onrushing undead. The rest of the group backed up, not wanting to get assaulted by the undead in the room (that they still could not see). They did let the wagon wheel light roll forward and fall upon the caltrops, briefly making a bridge over them should the party need to assault forward.

The undead were held back on the stairs by a mix of Auri and Zeta’s skill, noting that one of them was fighting very skilled, dodging blows left and right. Zeta let fly an arcing bottle of holy wine but it was intercepted and laid down with care.

And then Auri killed one of the skeletons. And it exploded.

Sonovacrap.

The blast was like a hammer blow, but the broken bits of bones and raining pelvis pieces only affected the two living friends. The undead were unfazed, instead only continuing their press forward. Tactics needed to be changed. Auri swapped to a spear and began thrusting backwards to the back row of skellies instead, her spear all but useless on their lack of fleshy forms.

The slinging skellie hurled a flask of oil at the rest of the group who was huddled around the corner, unsure still of what they were fighting. But they did hear another secret door open up and another 8 skellies fill the room. A 2nd slinger joined the first and some spear users blocked the way. Liscinia made her way to the front with her tower shield and the party was lining up to bring the rain of blunt arrows down on the skeletons.

But then Funis and others in the back of the party heard running feet…and ghouls came around the corner to attack our rear.

Funis went down in a spray of blood, paralyzed by the ghouls’ attack, and out rear main fighter was out of the fight.

The group was split in two, and one of our groups was now assaulted on both sides. Crossbow bolts and arrows peppered the ghouls while Pawn was brought up front to turn the skeletons arranged against us there. Marcus and Pecheri tried to get behind Liscinia and her tower shield, only barely getting into place when a THIRD secret door opened and 8 more skeletons came out! Now three slingers against the main group and 5 other skellies, while Auri and Zeta were being forced down the stairs by the combined strength and assault of the skeletons there.

For long agonized minutes it was a slog against the press of undead with our spear, sword, and spells; most everyone running out of whatever resources they had. However it became unsustainable after Liscinia and Marcus were forced to give ground against the advancing undead from the skeleton room, forced back around the corner after one of the slingers hurled a hot coal into the oil soaked floor and the blast sent everyone scurrying back.

Auri and Zeta had no choice, the press of undead was too much against them, so they turned and RAN further into the dark and down the slopes and steps until they were deep deep under the ground. Where their infravision picked up a door. A door that Zeta opened, they both charged into the room beyond, and Zeta slammed closed. Where Auri fumbled for a locking bar and slid it home.

Two friends alone in the dark, undead spears and bodies bashing at the door beyond. And they just realized they had been poisoned from the door. Zeta fell over choking on his own blood while Auri stumbled to her knees and fought off the toxic effects. She managed to get a candle lit and tried to administer to Zeta…but the proud half-elf, confused and yet still making his way in the world, died in her arms.

And with the door opening, it triggered an alarm spell which summoned MORE undead from further in the complex. And this time it was 4 ghoul looking creatures, except two of them had an air of confidence about them. We reshuffled our line in order to hold them off, and Flimflam cast Magic Fang on Whosea for the upcoming fight. Marcus whipped out Whipztar’s grimoire and reading from the enchanted tome called out “EMPTY” where the room with skeletons that were attacking our flank…just emptied. The wheel disappeared, the bodies disappeared, it all went empty.

And the undead hit our back line again. It wasn’t just ghouls, it was something more. As evidenced when weapons just bounced off their hide. As evidenced by the disdain it had for the party. As evidenced by the life draining ability it had. We had to break free and go, and go now. Ghouls were dropping more of the party. Marcus lost a level, Sanford lost a level, Pawn lost a level and DIED by a Wight! Then Sanford was torn apart and Scripinius our linkboy was drained by a Wight and DIED! Quintus was killed. Whosea was drained and then…Funis and his paralysis wore off.

The Light footman with his enchanted mace waded into the back of the Wight’s, slamming at them at the same time that Flimflam and his enchanted cudgel and Whosea and his enchanted…teeth hit the front. It took magic weapons to take them down, along with a flurry of disrupt undead and magic missiles we punched a hole through and the party decided to run. Liscinia and Funis held the rear as the party hoisted our paralyzed brethren (Geld and Caeteccius) and we charged out of here.

We reached the bridge and were crossing when we heard our pursuers coming back after us again. So Liscinia and Funis dragged first one wagon base bridge back over the pit and let it fall…and then the second. The last thing the two hirelings saw were a host of skellies on the other side…and our one time companion and Halfling priest Pawn standing there – the priest having blood all over his form, and black eyes staring with undead malevolence and confidence at us retreating. And still the party ran on.

And now in the wagon room we had four zombies to contend with! Fuck! Marcus pulled out his book again and consulting Whipztar’s tome, selected FLIP – turning the busted wagon up and over and ONTOP of three of the zombies! Nice! They were pinned which allowed Funis to do battle with it long enough for the group to get past and away and then keeping up the rear.

We climbed wearily up the slope, through the incense room, and into the store room. From here we navigated the slope up, Tranis using rope all the way back down to help us pull ourselves up. And the wandering monster gods were against us even more as one, two, three of the pale and bloated carrion crawlers crept into the Hades room and tried to attack our ranger.

Flasks of oil held two of them back and one of them made it through as a torch was hurled and others came up to help. It caught on fire and tried to attack us but Flim, Whosea, Liscinia, Tranis, and Marcus all held it off and slayed it while we made our way to the front and escaped at long last into the evening cool air of the Griffanus Estate…with half our members gone or missing or dead.

We lost Scripinus, Quintis, Sanford, Pawn to wights and other undead. Zeta and Auri are unaccounted for, chased further into the dungeon by a host of pursuing skeletons (Of those two, Zeta has dies from Poison and Auri is weak and in a single room without exit, used as some sort of flensing chamber where the local necromancer take flesh from the body).

Escaping to the night air, low on spells or empty, with two of our members paralyzed and some of us level drained by the wights: Flimflam, Whosea, Tranis, Marcus, Pecheri, Geld, Vestanus, Funis, Liscinia, and Caeteccius.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Meet 71, Adv 4, 1/10/15

Talking undead.

Whenever it happens, no matter the group, it always freaks the group out. Mindless undead, snapping teeth, rotting bodies - they can take - but put a voice to that and it raises the "what the fuck is that" level to those that face it.

I have had ghouls talk and spectres merely moan. Whatever the situation, it always manages to drive the party to distraction.


Write up follows:

The group had discussed leaving getting to a split decision on pressing on “one more room” and cutting now, with a few more votes landing on staying and see what else we could find. So we spent more time binding cuts and applying splints, while Flimflam redispensed healing berries to those who needed it. Eventually we were prepared and new lights were lit before we set off once more.

We decided not to take the southern corridor that led to some cramped passage with the sounds of zombies behind it, instead going north and east. The ground was sloped here, perhaps 15 degrees, and went beyond the limit of our lights, although Zeta informed us that according to his infravision, there was nothing “living” down there to concern us. So he went first, picking his way with care, but his spear rang off the wall and he clattered noisily…which drew the attention of a trio of deathdogs from somewhere further along the corridor.

Our scout beat a hasty retreat ahead of the multi-headed canines, just in time for Pecheri to blow two of them up with a pair of detonation arrows…wounding the third terribly in the process. A short volley finished it off and we considered ourselves lucky to have avoided a possibly deadly situation.

Once more Zeta went down the hall until his torchlight revealed…3 humanoid figures hunched over the death dogs and eating the carcasses raw. And one of them said, in discernible Common, “Douse the light.”

Fuck.

Our scout kept them talking and focused on the dead deathdogs, imitating that he was a necromancer’s apprentice to someone they supplied as Karstimis. After stuffing their face they shouldered one of the carcasses and allowed Zeta to retreat while they pressed on back the way they came.

The party waited and discussed…talking undead? Pawn suggested possibly they might be wights? Holy crap…seriously? The long and short of it…based upon what they had said, they might be heading back to the necromancer, which we assumed was the dwarf. And should follow them. Right…follow them.

Terrific.

So we picked our way back down the slope (bloody stains, no undead or deathdogs) and took the turn to the left, following it a bit further until we arrived at a large chamber. There was a set of stairs going up on the right wall, and along the north, 9’ above the ground, was a corridor heading in that direction. No ladder was visible. There were small natural alcove where candles had once burned (although 2 were still there), giving some minor light. Dog shit and old bones abounded.

We looked and noted that there were bloody drips and stains heading towards the corridor 9’ above the ground, leading us to understand the undead had gone that direction. We wanted to follow, but not risk any problems. We checked the base of the floor under the passage and noted fallen rock there. Lots of it. None larger than 25#. But there were enough pieces there to identify that whatever it was was at one point in time a statue of a pony. Broken now, but at one time, life sized.

Zeta opted to climb and check it out, inching his way up the wall until he arrived at the top. More blood stains here, a corridor heading straight and sloping upward before turning to the left. That and lots of horizontal scratches on the walls between 2 and 4 feet in height.

No one trusted it.

So we positioned ourselves along the base and room, weapons out and watching with care. Zeta went along, testing the ground until he arrived at the slop and went up a few feet. The corridor continued along at 30 degree angles and then turned to the left – not a 90 degree turn, but a curve to the corridor. Right. Fucking trap. He was out of here.

It was when he turned around though that there was s button on the ground, right in the center of the corridor. It wasn’t there before, but it was not. 6” diameter, iron looking, shiny, sticking up 3” tops. Right. Not going to touch the damned thing.

And then Auri who was at the base of the passage with Quintus, saw a button there as well. Quintus wanted to touch it – I mean they made it, and it’s a button, it must be touched! No one would let him. And Zeta’s button seemed to glow red when he tried to step around it, making him even more concerned.

But it was Caeteccius who saw another button, this one at the base of the steps on the eastern wall, and not knowing about the other two, said, “That’s peculiar,” and touched it.

Zeta heard something groan up the passage and he turned the run back to the deathdog room (stomping on the button along the way) as there was an unholy racket suddenly sounding behind him.  Auri and Quintus’ button suddenly glowed red and they did NOT push it. BUT they saw Zeta JUMP out of the passage, getting hit from behind and then rolled over by a 9’ wide, 4’ diameter, pointed ended cylinder that crashed with a terrible racket and then rolled to a stop at the other side.

They dragged Zeta out of the way (down to a single hit point) and then heard heavy noises on the stairs. Coming down was a crude approximation of a 5’ tall figure with reversed hooks for hands hanging out of its arms. The statue was of solid stone and trundled along the path the stone had crushed, dragging the hooks on the floor as if it would be picking up anything. Then it went to Auri’s button and pressed it with his head. And then faded away.

Ok, now what the fuck? We suspected it went to the dwarf which was going to make someone wonder where it came from and why it was triggered. Also, what about the wights? Other deathdogs? Now what the hell? We suspected that the statue came from the stairs and NOT from the passage above us. So when it was done and had to come back here again, it would take the stairs. So if we take the stairs we could be on our way to the necro/dwarf.

We looked. At the top of the steps was another dwarven looking hook handed statues. We checked it out, steps went up, crossed 20’ or so of ground, and then went down again on the other side. Simple. Two more dwarven statues up there on that side. Ok. Went to check further and the top step clicked when it was stepped on. Fuck. Brought up broken rock to mimic Zeta’s weight and pulled him off, step rose again. But nothing happened. We spent 20 minutes discussing it and decided to take the stone step apart.

It was a bit heavy, so we flipped it up and onto the landing in order to see what mechanism was under the step in the first place. Spring loaded pressure sensitive pistons and a 4 setting rotating place marker. Ok, but WHAT does it do? We spent 15 minutes trying to figure it out, but didn’t know what it all meant. So we decided to shelve it for now, allowing Zeta to pick his way across the 20’ expanse to the other side. So there went our scout, stepped one foot over the edge of the landing…triggered a pit…a fell 20’ to the bottom.

Hurt badly, he twisted his back and lay there for a few seconds…and 4 spears thrust out of the walls at the 3’ height and skewered the air where he would have been if he was standing. Holy crap! And then the cover closed.

The group spent no time in getting together a plan to bring Zeta free. A light spell was placed on a rock, two spikes were readied, and finally a chunk of the removed stair itself was lifted up – and when the trap was triggered, they filled it with light and then disabled the trap mechanism by jamming it open. Rope was tossed down to Zeta who was hoisted up and more goodberries were eaten…and then the party backed away as the trap mechanism was smoking and giving forth little bits of flame. We waited at the bottom of the stairs until the damage seemed to stop (Zeta was healed) and then crept up to check the area out again.

The pit was 9’ wide by 8’ long, taking up just under half the surface of the 20’ corridor. Quintus was sure there would be another pit on the other half of the corridor and no one disagreed with our sorcerer. But how could we cross now?

That’s when the party decided to go back to the wagons where the Matriarch/Patriarch once were and using their tools, disassemble enough of the wagon’s base planking to create a bridge of sorts to cross the open pit and the assumed next one. Before we did anything though, we distrusted the one remaining dwarven statue on this side, so the party used some poles and crowbars…and tilted it over until it fell 20’ to smash at the base below.

From there it was easy to span the first pit, where the group then did the same with the second (after verifying it did exist…and breaking it). Which led us to discuss how to avoid pit traps in the future. We needed some sort of weight heavy enough to trigger it, but nothing that would get any of us hurt.

What resulted was taking off one of the solid wagon wheels from the wagons (80# plus), string rope through the axle hole, make a sling of rope longer than the radius of the wheel, and use Zeta’s pole as a guide holding it upright over the wheel while the party trundles it forward. Finally a light spell was centered on the wheel and we were ready.

We crossed the bridge, went down the next stairs, but our noises had attracted a 6 count of skeletons who came up to assault the party. And Pawn turned them! Which was a surprise because some of the party members were convinced that Pawn was conning the group and really had no clerical powers at all. 5 of the skeletons ran back down the corridor and to the left and the remaining one was finished off with a four count of attacks. From here we decided to use our “wheel plan” and go follow the skeletons in the direction they had run off to and either kill them, or if not, hopefully find the necromancer/Hades priest there.