There was more underground adventuring to be had. Many rooms and corridors were explored and the low level baddies were taken care of without thought. But this was the 1st full day of adventuring the party had done from dawn till this point and there was a noticeable dent in their overall spell ability.
Any good role playing group will have the invariable personality conflict. Some of them are born of in game mechanics (dwarf/elf, paladin/thief, dumb fighter/weak mage) and others are born of "role" playing.
I like the latter versions better. Its invariably going to happen. I can't get a week at work without at least one of the 192 people who work there getting under my skin at some point. And all I do is see them for 8 hours a day (or much less!).
Imagine dealing with your co-workers after humping 1/3rd your body weight across your back, clad in ill fitting and roughly made clothing that may or may not have boiled leather plates and greaves strapped over them. Then add in that you are wandering underground with feeble light sources and the last thing you saw burst from the darkness and tried to eat your size 11 adventuring boots.
I would go on a limb and give most people a grand total of 50 minutes before someone rubs someone else the wrong way and spittle and handwaving ensues. I love this game. :)
Write up follows:
We picked up somewhere after lunchtime (although we hadn't stopped to eat) on what should be Earthmonth the 23rd, the 2nd day we've been in Dargan's Folly. We were getting hungry and the party wanted to make sure the centipede threat from the next chamber was fully taken care of. After having Detheron extinguish his Flaming Sphere, the rest of the party worked their way across the pottery/explosive rune chamber while Karis used his great strength to pull two of the closest doors off their hinges and span the still opened, and now greased top, pit trap.
While the group picked their way across carefully, Zoltan checked out the chamber. A layer of old webbing smoldered across the ceiling and hundreds of ashen bug carcasses littered the floor, only 3 or 4 dozen centipedes survived the inferno. There was a spinning wheel on the other side of the room. And a doorway to the right to leave.
Well, they weren't going to eat lunch in a room that stunk of dead cooked bugs so the group checked the place out as fast as possible. The cursory search for secret doors and whatnot followed, finding little if anything. Zoltan declared the door to the right safe and Karis went out it, tapping his way down the hall with his 10' pole in hand.
However there was some wondering on the spinning wheel. It was old but it still spun freely. Eventually it was moved and the area it sat on was tapped with weapon hilt until a hollow was discovered. Nice. The half-ogre was called back and using his dagger, he dug out the mortar and eventually pried the flag stone free. There was a hollow, some 2' deep. A wrapped bundle was down there. With Amal's crowbar in hand, Karis pulled out the strange bundle and stood up. It was fairly sizeable and was wrapped in old red linen with a frayed hemp twine wrapping.
A knife blade flashed and the bundle was opened to reveal a head. It was smaller than a man's and looked for all intents and purposes like either an oversized beetle or ant. It was shooken and inside the hollow chitin we heard something rattling around. Upending it and shaking it, a crude copper banded signet ring fell from the neck hole. It showed a stylized fist with a spike coming from the pinky and forefinger knuckle. The group conferred on it but no one could ever remember ever hearing of this symbol before.
The insect's head was placed on top of the 10' pole and Karis put the strange ring in his pouch. We went back to the hall on the right and it was checked over carefully. A side hall would lead the party back towards the trapped door with the slot over head, but we decided to press on to unknown places instead. The next chamber was a smithy or workshop. Most of the original base material in here was dwarven made, but there had been some attempts at expansion and that was all human handed.
Guessing that Dargan's people built on top of the original dwarven artisans works we checked out coal bins, cold long dead forges, old work tables and even the anvil. A 250 lb workman's anvil, it was rusted and obviously in disrepair, but was still stout and well made dwarven craftsmanship. The symbols to Moradin, dwarven lord of blacksmiths, were stamped on the anvil's feet. Finding nothing in here so far, they had Karis lift the anvil free of its seat and set on the ground. Still nothing.
We ate and talked and Detheron changed our fading torch for a lantern just before we were ready to move on. Leaving the smithy we followed corridors onward until we came to another chamber. It was dominated by a 7' stone statue of a bearded man with a spear, eye patch, and a pair of ravens on his shoulders. He was positioned in such a way that his gaze was looking down at an altar; candle holders, offering bowl, a brazier, and rotted prayer cloths still there.
We checked the chamber cautiously, the group being deferential to the statue of Odin. Karis found a small library with a 4 count of books on it. When he opened one of them however there was nothing there but old soggy pulped pages. And then he noticed a pinch pain in the side of his hand. He looked. And it was rot grub time again.
Damn it. He pulled off his glove and using his dagger, tried to cut ahead of the grub that was burrowing under his flesh. The maggot avoided it and kept going. So he twisted his hand and pressed his wrist against the hot glass of the lantern – scalding himself and killing the grub. The rest of the books were avoided. Amal plunked a handful of coppers in the offering bowl and some of the other party members decided to do the same.
A secret door was found and inside was another old and long emptied dwarven bolt hole. Calling this place done we went to leave but both Coruth'tae and Zoltan were standing by the statue (and altar) not wanting to be the 1st to leave. Some accusations were given about not stealing from the gods. Zoltan left in disgust but as he walked out he heard the grey elf drop a sizeable handful of coins INTO the offering bowl.
But amidst the altercation between the two, Detheron had decided to come back in like a raving lunatic; accosting Coruth'tae about what is best, and trust, and if it's to do with the gods, then it's HIS job to make decisions. Harsh words were bandied about by both people and even Karis had to come back and raise his voice but Zoltan came to Coruth'tae's defense and said that the druid was being unfair and unkind and if the grey elf wanted to honor the gods on his own, then let him do it.
Tempers a bit flared we moved on until our corridor eventually led back to the entrance hall. Hooray! What now? It was still early (our guess 2-3 o clock) and we looked at the map Coruth'tae had been making. We could go BACK to the one place in the centipede area we had not gone to…or we could go towards the map room and check that area out. Discussion followed and we opted to go and finish up the centipedes.
With map in hand we went much faster back to the last corridor where with our Flaming Sphere at the ready and battle tactics solid, we opened the door and set the last insect hive ablaze. It burned a few minutes until the final multi-legged horrors was done in. Extinguishing it, we looked about the chamber. Obviously burned now, there were 3 cages in here. Looking like rounded topped parrot cages and made of wide iron mesh webbing, they each had a door that took up 2/3rd of the front facing. We pondered them for a while but had no idea what they were for. The room was declared clear and we went back to the main entrance hall again.
We decided to go back to the "map" room area and press on from there. The corridor was long and we followed it cautiously. There was a side corridor to the right that went down a short flight of stairs or the group could go on. However it was while going on that the party noticed a change. The floor was covered with a thicker layer of vermin droppings than in other places they had traveled and the stink of rats was much stronger. Plus even a cursory listening revealed the squeal and squeak of many many of them beyond the portal at the end of this corridor.
The party was getting a bit low on spells and the thought of tackling a nest as large as what it seemed down here without the benefit of Flaming Sphere (or even Zoltan's Sleep) was considered folly. So we backed away and went to the stairs going down where the corridor split in twain and went off into the darkness. Now it was Zoltan who was uncomfortable, saying that leaving a nest as large as it sounds like at our backs while we go down here might mean we could get cut off. The decision was made to go to this area tomorrow and to instead go through the two secret doors near the map room and to the area over there.
While most of the group went in that way, Gwyn was getting peevish. He wanted to keep exploring this area and figured he would just go look a little further ahead on his own. Detheron waited for the dwarf (with Smokey and Fodder) at the top of the stairs while the others followed Karis to the Map Room and worked the doors opened.
Muscling open the next door, Gwyn found another smithy chamber, however this one had not been touched by Dargan's people and was still the same way the dwarves had left it a century and a half earlier. It seemed to be colder in here for some unknown reason. He looked around, peering into the coal bed where he saw not only long abandoned coal, but also what seemed to be a petrified log about as thick around as his bicep.
For reasons only known to firebugs everywhere, the dwarf then lit a torch and tossed it in the coal bin at the log. The "log" hissed and swelled in size, part of it splitting and pushing out of the bin, wrapping around the torch and extinguishing it, crawling across the floor and thickening, and (you guessed it), crawling around the dwarf himself. And where it touched him, it was cold and chilly and sucked his warmth from him in rapid frost making gulps.
For his own benefit, he did not scream so Detheron some 100' feet away didn't know anything was amiss. The dwarf ripped the brown mold from his chest with his bare hands, tearing it apart but also turning his skin blue as it branched out even further in an exponential effort to find more warmth. By now Karis was getting pissed that the party had split up and leaving Zoltan and Coruth'tae at the secret door area, he took Amal the orc back with him to see what the hold up was.
Gwyn was freezing and hit points were fading quickly. His axe came free and he hacked at the mold, cutting it apart as he stumbled out of the midst of it, the hissing long growths crawling down the hall after him. Detheron and Karis eventually came to see the frost rimed dwarf staggering towards them and a crawling slowly growing mold like mass behind him. They left, taking him back to the steps where he was healed up and admonished not to go off on his own again.
Meanwhile the gypsy and the grey elf were having some words about trust and privacy and it seemed that the two of them would need an opportunity to talk outside the dungeon and come to terms with one another. The party was once again a single unit and from here they trekked off again, Detheron and Karis advising the party that healing spells were becoming sparse again and we should be careful.
The corridor "T"ed here and the group went south where Zoltan checked out a doorway with care. Declaring it safe, we went in. It was an old dwarven barracks, originally set up for 10 of them. Stone platforms for pallets, stone sided foot lockers, shelves, hooks, even some stands were in here. We checked it out carefully, opening what we could and moving and prodding things where able. Although the barracks was disappointingly empty, we did stumble across a secret bolt hole along the north wall.
This one was also filled with heirloom quality dwarven weaponry and armor in quantities of 3 and 4 and festooned with symbology to Thor and Odin. Another 2 bags of caltrops were here, a 2nd climbing harness with 100' of rope ladder, and Zoltan discovered two vials of magical oil labeled "Brittlerock". While the rest of the group bucket brigaded the armor and weapons back to the entrance hall, the gypsy thief tested out a drop of it on the stone cover of one of the boxes. It turned the stone a porous looking grey that he was able to shatter easily with his hammer. Nice.
From here we went out the door to the right and traveled down another small flight of stairs where it came to what seemed to be another chapel similar to the one of Odin we had been at earlier. However, this one showed Thor, the Nordic deity was knocked a bit off his pedestal and part of the base had been beaten and damaged, causing the god of thunder to lean drunkenly against the wall. The statue's face was defiled by soot and smudges and the altar had been stripped bare and also treated poorly. Small black hand prints covered many of the places in here. Talk of either goblins or kobolds abounded.
The party wanted to fix it up. They went back to the barracks and got all the stone tops to the boxes and brought them in here. Meanwhile, Gwyn had cleared the base as best as possible of rubble and seated his 7' iron pole under the statue itself. Then between all the stronger members of the party, they lifted the statue of Thor until it was level again and Detheron shoved the tops underneath until it was propped up once more. The face was cleaned with a dousing of water and the tail end of someone's cloak and the altar was reset at Thor's feet. Amal was persuaded to pour a bit of his beer on the altar for Thor and then we pressed on (but not until Zoltan picked the orc's pocket and took his skin of beer and left the entire thing there as an offering).
From here was some more corridors until we came to our first place that looked lived in. The webbing had been cleared away and some pillows made of course hair like fibers and stuffed with scraps of fur and soft fungus were piled in here. A few pails of crudely beaten iron were tossed in a pile near another door out here, this one leading south.
We were a bit nervous. Detheron used his staff to fumble with the pillows, eventually daring to lift one up and upend it. They were simple as described. The pails were empty. A use of Lavender's ring was applied and the druid asked Fodder to use his senses to tell him what he smelled. A litany of things as expected was in here but the last two: dirty meat and something lizard caused the party to mull it over. Through some questions and answers, the something lizard was very similar to the kobold women we had saved and were living with us back in Orihalcus only dirtier.
Again – kobolds and goblins.
Were they close? Far? Near? Coming back? Would they notice we had been in here? The pillows were restuffed and Karis used a Know Time spell to find out it was 4:03 on Earthmonth the 23rd, 174 of the 30th age. The group was stunned – you mean you could have done that at any time?!?!? Chuckle.
We opted to leave now and count ourselves lucky. Back to the entrance hall we went and the party worked on getting the many items we had stacked there out one at a time. The grey elf started to cook and Detheron applied his healing kit to everyone that needed it. We chatted with Goloriana a bit and eventually the party bedded down for the night.
We ended it here. Yes we could have pressed on but the party felt that the dangerously low levels we had remaining of good healing and the serious lack of decent magic at our fingertips that had been making this area of the dungeon "easy" so far was reason enough to turn back and get a good night's rest.