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.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Meet 64, Adv 7, 4/25/09

After long last the party armed with the Runekey was able to find the Treasure Room. There are two of them - one of them untouched and virginal, the other partially plundered by Sir Dargan and then by Vanir/Djohrgahd and the Phantom Blades. There are other "D" rune doors scattered about this level, and each of them have something within the ancient dwarves wanted to preserve, guard, or protect.

The party snagged what they could (after a short and potentially deadly encounter with a modified Gorgon (the bull version, not the traditional medusa-kin)) and then dragged out a large pile of it to get to town.

I was very kind and had no claim jumpers bushwhack them and made sure that at least for now, all was good and smooth. Once word leaks out that they made a killing at the site, I am not so sure that future trips home will be as uneventful - but that's for another day.

Write up follows:

We arrived just outside the Throne room and waited, hearing the distant (very!) sound of gnolls and none of them nearby. Even the guard area outside Sakath’s Room was empty, the oil lamps still lit and a couple of ranseurs leaning against the wall.

We ran over there and entered after verifying the place was not inhabited, shutting the door slightly to disguise our presence. The ceiling was almost 100’ domed overhead, with a pair or heavy iron chandeliers providing lots of light for the chamber. A 2nd tier encircled the perimeter where a pair of steps went up, a low wall with numerous alcoves and niches every half dozen paces. In the back was a 4 tiered platform with a number of thrones on it, one of them obviously Sakath’s. We counted places for over a dozen guards but there were none here now.

Quickly we fanned out, some of us looking for secret doors or places, others for any sort of clues, others for treasure. We allowed ourselves 5 minutes no matter what and then we were going to back away from the chamber hopefully far in advance of any returning inquisitive hyena-men.

Although there were some items of note, no real treasures were to be found. We did uncover an important looking document in a strange hand in Sakath’s few items of interest and we took it, replacing the page with a rolled up normal piece of paper to make it appear like the room had been untouched. There was talk about scribing some expletive on the wall but it was decided that we should make NO show that we had ever been in here – nothing to give the gnolls a reason to be on alert or looking for us.

Leaving the throne room we went back to the hall and approached the 1st rune locked chamber. The doorway showed many old signs that it had been picked at earlier, but nothing had broken the seal. The party held their breath while Karis used the Runekey and the chamber opened.

A blast of stale air choked the hall along with a thin scree of dust, but when it cleared we beheld a deep chamber, perhaps 4 lengths wide, the ceiling a dwarven comfortable height of an inch or two over 5’. There were over a score of thick wooden and brass reinforced chests in here about the chamber, the back wall sporting a similar number of rolled up rugs and tapestries, the left wall home to over 30 statues and busts of dwarven art. But in the middle of the chamber was a squat stone figure of a bull…that opened its hellishly blue palefire eyes and snorted terribly loud, pawing the ground.

There was concern about going in to battle the creature/construct (we didn’t know what it was) due to the severely reduced ceiling height and the cluttered terrain because of the chests. Most of the group stayed gathered about the entrance unsure and vacillating. Coruth’tae fired off a lightning bolt, angling it so it rebounded off the ceiling to strike the strange creature. There was a loud sizzling crack and THOOM but when it ended the beast seemed unharmed. The elven mage and the gnome both stayed on either side of the doorway, outside of range and view while the party tried to coax the bull to approach them in the hall.

It was at that time that it snorted loudly and opened its mouth and breathed out a scintillating bluish field of smoking energy that slammed into the party, rocking them back on their feet. The creature’s breath stole some of the group’s life away and sapped their vigor, causing them to become crusted over briefly with a gritty/sandy coating. Fabambus shouted out, “GORGON!” upon seeing it and advised the party to either run or close immediately since it would continue to breathe on the group if possible until everyone was turned to stone.

Karis hunched low and ran in, Flarg following on his heels. Asgirda fired stonebiter arrows at the gorgon, wounding it, Gwyn shooting as well. Melee was engaged and the fight was brutal and terrible. Spells and blades made the day and the Gorgon fell in time with the party only taking a few more hits for their trouble. We then shut the door to the treasure room and the group began opening boxes.

There were 23 chests in total, filled with tens of thousands of gold and silver pieces as well as plates, mugs, cups, bracelets, necklaces, circlets, buckles, rings, combs, candle holders, stands, and holy symbols and jewelry. We broke out the bags and started filling them, our excitement almost physical as we decided how much we could possible haul out of here. The aid in the efforts, Detheron transformed himself into a mule and allowed even more sacks to be slung across his back. We were loaded down with no more room to carry ANYTHING, and we still hadn’t cleared out 1/3 of the chamber.

Fabambus checked the hall after the door was opened and even though the sounds of gnolls were louder and more insistent nearby, none were in visible range and the party left the treasure vault and made their way back down the road, up the sloping passage, and through all the side and back alleys until we arrived at 1st street. From there we doused all light and walked as quietly as we could to the stairs and began the long walk back to the surface, leaving Wodenvarelse behind.

We came out up top and Goloriana met us where we divested ourselves of our treasures and loaded what we could into the wagon. Bag after bag was pulled free and stowed aboard. Then the party was attempting to tarp it down and deciding if we should head back now or later when we noticed that Roxarn of the Red Clouds and one of his companions coming up the hill from their encampment. He commented on our obvious emergence and from they were able to tell that we had a good haul. He was looking for an idea of what we found and how it was and Karis was very closed lipped about it – saying nothing. Roxarn eventually got the hint (his companion said nothing the entire time, merely looking at us all in turn) and said that we had 35 days until the site became open.

We hastened our loading and then left, riding out in a way to avoid the Red Cloud encampment, on watch for any attempts on us or our load. It wasn’t until over a day later that we felt safer and continued on our way to Ponyboro. We met with Lord Daernhorse and told him of our haul. The lord offered to turn some of our coin into notes along with the Cooperson and Wolverton family, each of them scribing a 2,000 crown bearer note in exchange for coinage.

From here we opted to ride on to Cymbarton where the sale of our wares and goods would fetch the best price as well as directly pay the Adventuring Guild their share of the treasures. We paid Flarg and Asgirda their cut and the bugbears laden down with gold and treasures began the walk back to Orihalcus with fond waves and “good lucks” at us.

We ended it here. At this point no one has enough to go up and there is some talk about speeding up our turn around to make it back to Dargan’s Folley for 1 if not 2 more trips down.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Meet 63, Adv 7, 4/18/09

When I designed the 2nd level of Dargan's Folley, it was in two obvious parts: a lightly patrolled side with all the goodies and wandering monsters and level 3-6 junk I like to put in there (who doesn't like owlbears?) - and a more militarized side with gnolls and goblins.

Gnolls to me are really decent monsters because they are generally lightly armored, tall and strong, and given the right makeup can be a cake walk or a tough nut. They don't have the collosal hit points of ogres and aren't as much of push overs as hobgoblins (which I rarely use - too many 1-3 HD monsters I always felt).

But I digress - knowing that some adventuring parties will spend WEEKS going over an area and glomming every stray copper common they run across behind stoves and under seats, the first part of this level was pretty well described. But it was mostly just stuff. Normal stuff. Things that were left behind a century and a half ago by departing dwarves, pawed over by wandering beasties, looted by goblins, then Dargan's people 50 years ago, and then the Phantom Blades (Vanir's adventuring group - BBG) 10 years ago, and then maybe 4 years ago again by the now transplanted gnolls.

There was not going to be much there. And any group would have to work to find it, what little was there, except for the troves (small) I hid behind runelocked doors.

So this was the 2nd time the party went to crawl around the "shops" and look about for little treasures. And I was able to spring an Otyugh on them (Fabambus aka Amityville Mike from Pole and Rope specially loved monster) as well as some cave fishers and a cat and mouse game with a Slithering Tracker until they realized that this was a bad idea and they should just find the runelocked doors instead.

And for that, I am very happy. Now for the parts of the adventure to hit them that I have been holding in abbeyance for the last 5 months or so. XP's will be rocketing up their character sheets real soon and real fast - or they'll be running away again. :) (cue Benny Hill's Yakkity Sax

Write up follows:

There was talk about what to do next, where to go, and what places did we see the “D” runes in. It was eventually decided that we would go to the “sleeping wall” and try to work past the Lyreth ward there. So Karis used the runekey, opened the door…

And roughly a half dozen goblins who live in the area watched a doorway open that had never been breached before and our party walk out. They clamored around and their gravely voices attracted other goblins to come and see. How did we open it? Fabambus, speaking their language, flat out lied and told them it was already opened and they were here looking around for Sakath. Some of the goblins entered the Heimdall temple but when Karis walked out taking the runekey, the door reappeared and sealed a 4 count of the 30 or so goblins in the area inside.

Get it open! We couldn’t (lied). What are we going to do? Some of the goblins said they were going to get Shegdu the smith and others suggested to go to Sakath. The party thought quick and abandoning the idea of working their way into the Lyreth warded area for now, they said that Sakath was this way (towards the back of the area and back through the sloping corridor) and that the group should go tell him what happened.

About half a dozen goblins came with the group as they left the goblin area of Wodenvarelse behind and trudged up the sloping corridor, past the owlbear den, and into the street. And then Fabambus slapped a Sleep spell out and the goblins, except for 1, fell asleep. Flarg took down the lone goblin and then started hacking up the slumbering ones and the group debated what to do next.

It was voted on leaving the goblin and gnoll areas alone for some time and wander the “city” portion in an effort to find whatever runelocked doors were there and open them. We remembered that the guard post in the Grand Hall (where what had been deemed the salt shaker was) was Runelocked and there was a runelocked door in the back of it, as well as another guard post near there.

The smaller rune door opened, but only into the back alleys of the streets. But the other guard room opened up to show no salt shaker, but a glass container with another of those spellstones within, red, glowing, and shot through with black lines.

We then went down some of the streets we hadn’t been on before, looking for other runelocked areas. One of the places was very filthy and there was fresh garbage strewn all about it, a midden. The group wanted to avoid it and with good reason, except Fabambus and then Flarg both inexorably wanted to GO to the midden! Karis tried to stop them near the edge of the garbage pit. However the gnome and the bugbear looked at each other as if hearing something only they could sense, and chucked the half ogre into the pit!

Karis was not amused and was asking for help and the two friends were unsure WHY they had done that. But a tentacle came out of the garbage and looked at Karis through large purplish eyes and then something IN the muck began nibbling on his foot. Rope was tossed in and the party tried to pull him free but there was not a concentrated effort and the party was rather unfocused and Karis was now being eaten under the trash.

Just then Fodder was attacked by a large spider that had snuck out in the confusion from another shop and pressed fangs and poison into the wolfkin. Detheron was torn and Smokey ran to help out his friend. A giant 20’ boa was summoned and it landed on two of the spider that were approaching, 2 more still unmolested.

Karis drew sword and began hacking into the garbage and the upper half of an Otyugh emerged, the half ogre’s lacerated leg and foot dangling inside its toothy maw. Asgirda leapt into the garbage and tried hacking the Otyugh’s thick hide with her picks. It slammed its tentacles around. Bow fire was sent and Fabambus accidentally shot Karis in the leg!

Flarg jumped into the mess to help and the Otyugh was badly outmatched and tried to burrow deep down but Karis was furious and didn’t relent until the filthy creature was slain.

Meanwhile the last of the spiders was dispatched and Fodder was poisoned and in bad shape. Detheron was trying to heal his wolfkin and Karis was demanding his own healing, his leg barely held on and no feeling from his mid calf down. Then he took the jar on unguent and dumped 2/3rd of it over his torn up leg and the stress of it was so great the half ogre passed out.

The party tried to save the unguent but most of it had been spilt. And Karis’ leg was missing muscle, sinew, and tendon from the calf down – he was lame. They took out the precious Potion of Regeneration and poured it down his throat. His leg reknit properly and old scars and wounds faded away. He awoke but there was not much happiness as this little fiasco cost them an irreplaceable Potion of Regen and some 30 doses of healing unguent.

We wandered the area and felt at a loss, unsure if this was a good idea and perhaps we were doing something wrong. As we were going from shop to shop, Fabambus’ keen ears heard something following us, slithering. We could see nothing. What was it? We waited and looked and eventually the idea was hatched that if it was invisible, a downburst of rain would reveal it. Detheron called on a precipitation spell and we saw something, oilslick like and maybe 4’ oval and gliding away from the water.

The group shot over it but his nothing until someone thought to shoot the SLICK itself – and that resulted in hitting the creature which was the slick! Fabambus told us it was a slithering tracker and was some sort of semi-intelligent ooze that would follow us and try to kill us in our sleep. We had to kill it now! More shots were sent but it was fast and as it was dodging into a shop, Detheron hit it with a Faerie Fire Spell – allowing us to see it for the next hour.

We charged in and saw it going out the back door, the arrows still in it sliding out. Karis and Coruth’tae were on it’s back, pulling the door open, and saw it cutting left and then seemed to get VERY flat and moved slowly. Karis realized it was under a gelatinous cube and had the grey and him get back into the shop and shut the door swiftly.

They ran into the street and went up another alley, hoping to cut it off but they didn’t see it in the alley anymore. The party wanted to make sure it was dead and the opted to quickly check out the nearest 4 shops as the creature couldn’t have gotten too far. The 1st 3 shops were a bust but the 4th shop that was opened, Karis was hit by two cave fishers, their long muscular tongues pulling the mighty half ogre into the shop.

He pulled out his dagger and began hacking at one of the tongues, cutting it free. Some missile fire happened, and then Fabambus sent a stinking cloud into the shop and the two cave fishers were squirming and gasping in nauseous pain. Coruth’tae noticed a telltale glow coming from the front of the shop as the slithering tracker ran under the front door and tried to get away. He dodged into the street and using his wand of shadows, began spell blasting the ooze. It charged him trying to get him, but the mage’s armor spell deflected even a casual touch and a last spell blast tore it to shreds and the Slithering Tracker was finished.

The group reconvened and decided that this was dangerous and foolish. We should not be going shop to shop as we were risking death and worse. Fabambus said the dwarves had a love of symmetry and there might be two guard room on the other side of the Grand Hall and we should go there to look for “D” runes. So we crossed the Grand Concourse and sure enough, there were 2 guard posts there – but neither one was “D” runed. Hmm.

Since we had not looked down any of the southern streets except for the 3rd one, we looked on the 1st one for any runelocked doors, our stomachs growling and bodies growing weary. About half way down we found a shop that had been rune locked and a quick administration of the Runekey had us enter the former shop and work area of Wodenvarelse’s Master Engineer.

There were detailed drawings on yellowing parchment curling on the walls, tools, knives, weights, measures, styluses, and logs and books. Karis closed the door with the Runekey and the party decided that this was good a place as any to hole up, eat, and rest. They looked over the drawings and a few applications of a mending cantrip had them in better repair to take off the walls. Dwarven designs beyond anything anyone had ever seen before of tools and machinery. One of them was of a series of bridges and the group realized that it was the same bridges that cross the chasm down here.

After studying them, there was discovered a way to collapse the mighty spans – turning the statues at the front of each so they face each other would have the bridges fall. Good to know! We also looked over the other things in here and took a large pile of tomes, a 15 book set on engineering written in dwarvish and in good repair.

After sleeping and waking up feeling MUCH better, we prayed, studied, and readied ourselves for the next day, hoping to go and visit other shops down here with runekeys and eventually going back to the gnoll side to look around there. We left the engineer’s office and picked our way through the alleys to the next street. But we heard sounds. Gnoll voices. Lots of them. Walking about.

We doused the lantern and the party grew silent, waiting. The gnolls (maybe a dozen or more, along with the reek of their shocker lizards) were seemingly patrolling – something they had not done during any of our visits down here so far – at least on this side of the chasm. They were looking up the 2nd street, went to the Grand Concourse, and then down the 1st street – the one we had just vacated. They stopped at what we assumed was the engineer’s office and we heard casual knocking and noises – but then they stopped and moved on.

We listened and the patrol moved back to the Grand Concourse and eventually grew fainter…until there were lots of excited shouting and gnollish voices. What did they find? What was across the Concourse? Did we leave something there? At that point we remembered that Detheron had stone shaped the wall open at one of the Rune-locked areas, the one with the 10’ tall metal “thing” with the copper looking fan on top. From the excited gnoll voices, it was obvious they had discovered it. We couldn’t speak the language but we heard Sakath’s name a few times and the patrol was sending bodies back to the bridge and assumingly getting more.


We deduced that some of the goblins had alerted the gnolls to what had happened concerning the runelocked door and who we were and some patrol was sent out to check other runelocked doors to see if they were opened. And the gnolls had indeed found it. And now the gnolls were coming to investigate and even Sakath was being called.

The party thought on what to do and how to go about it, as the number of gnolls arriving in the dark hall was getting more numerous and excited. And then the group said, “Say, the throne room must be empty. Let’s go check it out! The gnolls are mustering over here – it should be much easier for us to walk around.” There were lots of thumbs up on this and the group, area lit by Coruth’tae’s Light spell, ran off through back alleys and side roads until they came to the sloping corridor and stopped just short of the gnoll area.

Fabambus used an Invisibility spell, already under the effects of arun spell, and then fired off a Locate Object spell – and ran down the large road looking for Runekeys. Chuckle. The speedy gnome found one. Two. Three. And then he was at the end of the road, Sakath’s throne room on the left, a few bored gnolls standing there. He waited and saw only a couple of gnolls belting on leather and brigandine and running towards the main road. He smiled and came back to the group, revealing all he learned.

The party was psyched and wanted to go to Sakath’s Throne room as this would be the best opportunity to do so and avoid as much of a combat as possible. We ended it here, the group entering the street and heading towards the Throne Room.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Meet 62, Adv 7, 4/11/09

No DM wants to run a bloodbath. Some older school adventures are designed that way where you come to the table with sheets of replacement PC's, but the reality of it is that the players and the DM want some continuity.

This could have been a blood bath. Hell, it could STILL be one. This group has been hit or miss regarding covering their tracks and not attracting everyone in 10 square miles to their location and during the night I was rolling honestly, no fudging, looking for that first time when the wandering guards and locals come out of the woodwork and gathered theirselves about the party for an old-school whooping.

But the gnolls were not going to attack the party tonight and they dodged the bullet so to speak, getting away with a relatively innocuous series of encounters and then a defined gathering and acquiring of their end goal.

And for that I was deliriously happy for the party.

Write up follows:

Detheron used his staff to force the gnoll he was struggling with the stay on the ground while he called out to Frey to help him summon a globe of fire into his hands. While the sparks were flaring, Fodder and Smokey tore into the gnoll on the ground, causing the figure to giggle maniacally during the struggle. Raising his ball of fire up he slammed it down into the gnoll who caught it in his box of trash, setting the contents ablaze.

Before the rest of the party could enter the other gnoll kicked Fodder in the ribs and then stepped past the wolfkin to slam the back door closed and slide the bolt lock over. Coruth’tae and Gwyn moved aside and Asgirda brought her shoulder to bear, trying to batter down the back door. The struggle in the house was getting desperate as Fodder was hit with the box of flaming trash and the other gnoll was assaulting Detheron from behind.

Flarg charged to the back door and was blubbering and roaring in an effort to burst it down, rage filling the bugbear with terrible fury. The metal hasps were straining but held. For now. The rest of the group was concerned about the level of noise and were looking up and down the nearby alleys, seeing no gnolls approaching yet. Karis forced his bulk down the alley towards the main street to look out, the illusion Coruth’tae placed on him to appear like a gnoll himself still in place.

As the druid was having a serious problem within the house he called to Frey and a 140 lb prehistoric Dire Weasel appeared with a clap of smoke and tore into the gnoll choking Detheron from behind. And then the lock burst free and Flarg fell in, taking the gnoll at the door to the ground. Some noises were upstairs and Detheron wanted to silence them, whatever they might be. In the back alleys no one was coming or paying any mind to the party but down the main thoroughfare Karis noted a single gnoll approaching with a slow and tired gait.

The druid bounded to the main room of the house and took to the stairs, his animals following behind him and Flarg behind. Gwyn (still invisible) stayed in the back alley and Fabambus hid around the corner keeping himself out of sight. Coruth’tae entered the gnollish home and looked at the carnage, Asgirda mouthing the word, “Crap,” to him.

At the top of the stairs was a younger gnollish figure, female, and surprised at seeing Detheron charging towards her. She motioned to the other two gnolls (younger than her and male) to flee and tried to run herself but the druid’s boar spear slammed into her shoulder blades and she staggered to her knees. Fodder tore past her and chased down one of the gnoll boys into a side room. Smokey lumbered further in and slammed the other boy down but a lucky kick to the nose had the bear lose his grip and the boy ran past getting to the back window and yelling for help.

In the street the guard gnoll was getting closer and Karis pulled back into the alley to avoid being seen. A young gnoll child from a nearby house was coming into the street and talking to the guard in their own language – something was afoot in the house the party was in.

Flarg help Detheron take down the teenaged girl gnoll and Smokey tore the gnollish boy’s back open killing him. Karis stepped out of the alley walked right up to the gnoll guard and taking full advantage of the fact he was illusioned, stabbed the length of his great sword into the other’s chest. The young gnoll in the street was standing there stunned but Asgirda leapt through the window of the house and tackled the young gnoll, clamping a hand over his mouth and stifling his screams. The back of the house had another inquisitive gnoll child looking around back there and Detheron dropped a ball of fire on him – and then Flarg pushed his way through the window and dropped two stories onto the gnoll – killing it. The weasel was ordered out to the street to help “kill gnolls”.

It jumped out the broken window and attacked – KARIS! The half-ogre still illusioned had no idea where the weasel came from and had to fend off its attacks, letting the guard gnoll stagger away. Asgirda broke the boy’s neck and seeing the gnoll guard getting away swung the 75 lb gnoll child around three times and let it fly – slapping the guard in the legs and tripping him up.

The illusion now dropped from Karis, the half ogre, the dire weasel and Asgirda all made short work of the guard. It took the group only a few seconds to drag every now slain gnoll back into the house and reconvene. There were LOTS of heated words with Detheron who some of the party felt was too blood thirsty and took reckless. The druid maintained that he didn’t give a crap about gnolls and neither did Frey. It got very heated but it was decided that the party would talk about it at another time.

There was a waste culvert under the house and we pulled up the grate in the kitchen. The bodies were hacked apart and dumped down the hole while the group maintained a vigil. No other gnolls came to investigate but we heard them in the city, talking, giggling, moving about. We felt really exposed and wanted to get out of the house as soon as possible and to the “last” street northward following the goblins’ directions from earlier.

We picked our way across the main road and through a series of alleys until we got to another main road. From here we crossed to the other side and went through the back ways but after some walking (past what we assumed was the back door of a tannery) we deduced that the road here was the “northern” most road we needed to find the gnoll captain Tasolde on – he who had/has the golden holy symbol to Thor from the mausoleum that Zoltan had on him when he was slain.

Plans were discussed and some thoughts were given out, but it was Fabambus and Coruth’tae who put together their resources. The grey elf read one of the gnome’s “locate object” spells and still under the effects of a Run spell, dashed into the street and picked a direction at random – deciding on west. He ran on, feet a blur, getting closer to the main thoroughfare and what gnolls were out there, when the locate spell went off with a PING in his head. THERE! Behind a door, the last door on the right, just shy of the main street.

Was it locked? What was in there? Hiding near the shadows, he cast and ESP and scanned the room’s interior, centering on where the locate spell had identified the symbol to be. There was a mind there , contented and relaxed but had a singular dog like language he couldn’t understand. He spiraled out from there encountering 5 more similar minds (one of which was rather angry) and some what he assumed were goblin minds as well, one of them in pain and terror.

Dropping the ESP he cast a knock spell this time – pushing it into the chamber so the terminus of it would hit the door he was outside but would definitely hit other locks, hasps, and snaps in the chamber as well. Some confusion noises were heard within. Then he called forth a stronger illusion, making himself look like the same duergar (dark dwarf) we had fought when escaping the Folley last time.

And then he entered.

It was a interrogation chamber and there was a goblin on a table a cage of rats over his belly open and vermin squirming everywhere, 6 gnolls in here, 4 of them wearing leather jerkins, one with a brigandine breastplate, and the last one bare chested and scarred looking. They all were scrambling to pick up belts and cloaks and hold the goblin down and gather the rats and were surprised at seeing the dark dwarf enter. Coruth’tae pointed to brigandine wearing gnoll, specifically at the gold symbol around his neck and said in dwarvish, “That! Give it to me. Now!”

The gnoll (tasolde) balked and tried to argue against it but Coruth’tae repeated his demand and made himself seem more wroth. The gnoll grudgingly took it off and complained that “he was allowed to keep it, why take it now?” Coruth’tae told him nothing.

The bare chested gnoll swore to Fenris and tried to engage Coruth’tae in some conversation/explanation but Coruth’tae played his part without deviation, turning to leave without another word. He did note though, that Zoltan’s one time portaling cloak was here – and in the ownership of the bare-chested Fenris swearing gnoll.

Once in the street he turned to the left and ran as fast as he could, dropping the illusion, back to his friends down the back alley and triumphantly handed the amulet to Karis. Elapsed time: 7 minutes.

The group was VERY impressed.

We decided at that point to get the HELL out of here after we heard what went down, assuming that the ruse wouldn’t last forever. We picked our way from alley to alley and back to the back area of the gnoll area and then up the long curving sloping corridor back to the other side of Wodenvarelse and hid ourselves in the Temple of Odin to discuss what was to happen next.

We looked over the map and decided that we needed to get to the Hammer Room, which by all accounts was in the goblin area and most likely opposite from Sakath’s chamber, over 800’ north of what the gnoll’s had taken as their throne room. There was another sloping back corridor there but it was past an owlbear’s nest. There was no chance we were going to push past the Chasm at this time so the owlbear’s nest was the decision.

We geared up and made our way across the sepulcheral halls until we came to the area in question. The stink of ursine was very strong but we stayed with care until we passed the ruined shop (with at least 2 owlbears within who growled but did not approach the party) and entered the back alleyways. There was sign that a Gelatinous Cube had been through here recently but we went past and into the long sloping corridor. There was a 3’ burned mark on the wall of a stylized wolf’s head in profile and an arrow pointing down into the darkness – testament that the Phantom Blades and Vanir’s group had been here and marked the area.

The group formed up into single file and worked down the heavy slope some 150’ feet until it opened into a wide dwarven corridor 30’ tall and lit with phosphorous fungus from above. The reek of goblin and kobold was strong and their voices echoed strangely along with the clang of industry somewhere in the gloom. We knew that we would have to traverse the entirety of the dwarven road (with homes on both sides) to get to where the Hammer Room would be so we set off.

After only a short distance Gwyn stopped the group. He looked back in the hallway at where we had last walked and cautiously looked over the floor. After a few moments he announced that a 9’x9’ section of the floor was a good inch or two lower than the rest of the place and was, in his words, the first imperfection we had run across in the dwarven city. Fabambus came over to check it out and after a couple of seconds got a glassy look in his eyes and started to walk away the way we had come, Gwyn’s Lyreth Copper Wolf’s head medallion growing warm. A Lyreth Ward!

We broke the enchantment on the gnome and the party looked around. 9’ overhead was another wolf’s headed burn mark on the wall, an arrow pointing straight down. But the wall was featureless! It took some time but the party felt the wall was too smooth, too perfect. It was real (no illusion) but Detheron and Coruth’tae figured it might have been subject to one of the stone melding spells the druid does, the “stone” coming from the floor and spread over whatever doorway the Phantom Blades had hidden behind the wall long ago!

A work gang of goblins emerged and watched the party, wondering what they were doing. Fabambus spoke to them as if the party was supposed to be here and through some decent story spinning and name dropping, diffused the goblin’s interest (especially since they had been told to be alert for an ogre and a dwarf traveling together – and Gwyn was STILL invisible). Shengdu the smith was not too far from here. And the Hammer Room was at the end of the road we were on. We asked about the wall and were told that it was the “sleeping wall” because over the last couple of years whoever spent too long over here got sleepy and went home to nap. We thanked them and told them that we’d let Sakath know they were doing a good job and sent them on their way.

The group left the area for now and went on, looking at the doors on both sides with interest. One of them was runelocked but also sported numerous symbols of Heimdall upon its surface.

At the hall end we came to the great double doors to the Hammer room. It was chained and marked to be avoided as per Sakath Slobbertongue. A knock spell took care of the lock and Karis held the Symbol of Thor in his hand aloft and entered.

The room was huge, 100’ tall domed ceiling, two massive iron chandeliers with eternal candles lit, two levels and a wide open area before a raised 4 step dais where a dwarven throne sat with something resting on the seat bottom. Scores of smeared rusty areas marred the walls and floors about the chamber. And spinning slowly 6’ off the ground bathed in the light above was an 11’ tall golden war hammer.

It did not respond to the group that gathered inside the doorway and once the door was closed behind us Karis held the symbol before him and walked in slowly. It was perhaps 4 strides in before the hammer spun faster and began to rise higher and on the 5th it flew at Karis and arced over his head as if to strike but stopped 7’ over his form quivering in the presence of the ancient dwarven holy symbol. He walked in a bit more and it followed him, always staying outside of reach but moving around him as if to test for an opening.

Feeling brazen he walked backwards towards the door, the 11’ tall hammer following, which got the rest of the group VERY worried and cried out for him to STOP! The hammer didn’t follow Karis to the door but the group told him to stop screwing around. So Karis walked forward across the chamber, the hammer following always just 7’ over his head, until he climbed the dais to the throne and took the octognal stone disk from the chair, the front of it emblazoned with a bas relief of a dwarven “D” rune (two triangles facing one another). The metal of the crest was singularly strangely oily looking metal and the entire piece weighed a disturbing 25 lbs, easily 3 or 4 times what one would expect it to weigh.

Karis walked out, the symbol still held aloft until we all arrived at the door and emerged back to the main hall, our prize in hand. But what to do with it? Where to go first? Do we go to the wall with the Lyreth Rune somehow hidden behind it? Do we even know where the treasure room is? Is there more than one?

We opted to try it out on the first door which was the Temple to Heimdall. Karis wielded the runekey over the markings and the key SLAPPED forward against the door – a crackle of energy flowed, the scent of ozone filled the air, and the doorway just DISSOLVED.

The Heimdall temple had been undisturbed for over 150 years. Three long rows of stone pews, a 15’ tall statue of a dwarven artist’s view of Heimdall, a pulpit, holy water font, sealed mahogany closet. On the inside of the door was another “D” rune which Karis placed the runekey against and the door reappears with a crackle and resealed the room. Good – no inquiring goblins or gnolls to disturb us.

A search over the entire chamber with mundane and magical means showed the holy water font was unbroken and could be reused, the items in here were old but unspoiled, and the cabinet held a rack for 6 staffs of which 5 were empty and one was filled, and a singular 9” disk with Heimdall’s emblazon on one side and the words “Seal of Heimdall” on the other. Detheron noted the staff in the rack was an exact duplicate of the Staff of Heimdall he was holding and when he tried to remove the other one a magic mouth appeared warning that removal of the staffs can only be done by a high priest for recharging or by the replacement of a spent staff. So he took out long used and well worn Staff of Heimdall and put it in one of the open slots – and the other one popped out! The original one wouldn’t budge (magic mouth reappeared) but we had a new one fully charged! Sweet.

Karis took the Seal of Heimdall and when he grasped it he found he was able to read the dwarven script with ease (something he could not do normally) and he had an keen insight on a strange jar of unguent in the cabinet (healing salve, external use only, 5 hp healed per application, 45 possible uses in the jar), the Staff of Heimdall (25 charges, heals 20, wards for 2-5 minutes, of last stand for blanket heal 15’ radius and ward). Very nice.

We were packing up what we’ve found so far and deciding on what we were to do next, breaking for lunch and ending it here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Meet 61, Adv 7, 3/28/09

It was nice to get back into the dungeon again. Level one still had some surprises for the group should they take the time to explore it, and the last bit of "treasure" was in a semi-sentient constructed cauldron that doubles as a trap should the group just let greed rule them.

Once it was done they had no reason to not go back to Wodenvarelse and begin to really find what they needed to, which meant the lost Symbol to Thor in the gnoll area and eventually using it, the Runekey from the hammer room. With the runekey in hand the group would not be barred from any of the sealed doors anymore, although I had to admit they did have a great work around using stoneshape spells. It would drain their magic and they couldn't explore too swiftly, but they were able to get into some areas of the dungeon "earlier" than I had originally expected.

Part of having a good time on my side of the screen is looking for those times when the party surprises you. I am looking forward to seeing how they handle this area and surprise me because this plan they are could be rather deadly should they decide to swing swords and batter their way through.

Subtlety is the key. But then again, maybe they will surprise me. :)

Write up follows:

There was some serious discussion on how to assault the large mass of spiders and the leader (assuming it is one) inside the far chamber, eventually the party decided it would be best to go in with Flaming Sphere’s rolling and mop up whatever still lives afterwards. But they had been talking aloud for so long that their voices carried down the hall and the closest arachnids entered the hall to find out who was making the noises.

Detheron sent the sphere bouncing away and it toasted the closest spiders and rolled into the room where he had it begin to bounce about the walls. High pitched screams and odd crinkling chitterling noises emerged and we expected to follow in shortly afterwards, but there was a “WHUMPH” of outrushing air and a 9’ tall, silver necklace wearing, hairy spider phazed into the room with us and slammed fangs and serrated legs against the party. We struggled briefly until it phazed out after assaulting us.

We spread out, each person taking a section of wall to press their back against. Gwyn sent shafts down the hall to the burning room, striking a few spiders daring to step out and approach us. The Phaze spider did not reappear but both Detheron and Fabambus used their location magic (animals and minerals (silver) to zero in on the large arachnid, finding it in the hall we came down and around the corner. A direct assault was ruled out but Coruth’tae used one of his Spectral illusions to fool the spider into attacking an illusion of Karis, and when it stepped free the group assaulted it, taking it down swiftly.

Detheron looked over the silver necklace the spider was wearing and after learning it was magical, put it on and tried to command local spiders. Nothing happened. So he had them slain for insubordination. Chuckle.

We had now cleared out the area (after getting a handful of gold and silver for our troubles) but after talking about possibly going down to level 2 or finishing up the last unexplored section on this level, once again we opted to stay and clear it out. We worked our way back to where the map room was and this time went north through the corridor, ending up in a chamber with 2 other exits and 6 cupboards along the north wall.

We carefully looked them over (nothing jumped out but we expected it to)and after glancing down the two closed doors to wherever they went we opted to go east where the corridor opened to a sloping chamber with a harp lying on its side, strings broken, and a brass gong dropped from its chains on the floor. An odd stain ran down the room from the upper slope to the back wall. We spent some time here trying to figure it out but decided it was not harmful, Fabambus and Coruth’tae looking further along.

There was another chamber with some spiders in it, and a low worn container with some sort of piping in it along the back wall. Whatever was in it had long ago emptied or dried up and the spiders were easily scattered. The party followed and the group pressed on.

The next hall led down stairs to a strange chamber where every pieces of furnishing in here had been smashed into pieces no larger than a man’s hand. Shelves had been torn free, counters crushed, everything. No rhyme or reason. We stayed on the outside of the room, Fabambus giving the place a wary eye. He looked carefully over the chamber, paying more mind to the ceiling as he noticed that the stonework up there didn’t match the rest of the area. And as he watched the ceiling seemed to “crawl” towards the party’s position. “Time to go,” the gnome said and beat retreat from what he identified as some sort of Lurker.

We worked our way back to the room with the cupboards and took the other option, Coruth’tae using his map to tell us that there wasn’t much left to find. There was a room with barrels in it, lots of them and the sound of a rat’s warren within. Some quick spell work took care of them and we searched the area onward, finding nothing.

The last chamber was different than anything else so far. There was a large massive cauldron set in a circle of stones in the middle of the room, some 3 1/2’ tall and 4’ in diameter. Looking in we found it was ¼ filled with gold plate ware, goblets, and utensils. There was concern on sticking our hands in so we dumped it on its side and some of the items within fell out, along with 3 skeletal arms and hands, all severed at about mid point in the forearm.


We started tossing things inside, but it was the dead rat we tossed in that caused the mouth of the cauldron to SLAP closed with serrated teeth like projections. Trap! Very nice. We finished dumping the dwarven made bric-a-brac out and while going through the items one by one, we were a bit stunned to see the cauldron slowly grow legs, right itself, and settle back into the fire pit area again. I believe the party then decided there and then that they were going to take this with them when they finally left.

We checked the last door and noted that it led to the same area with the moving ceiling so that meant that we were done and our efforts were complete concerning level one. We rested for the night and the next day Fabambus placed a run spell once again on Gwyn and himself and then the group worked their way to the south eastern halls, the fane of Thor, and down the grand stairs almost a mile plus of walking to the 2nd level of Dargan’s Folley referred to as Wodenvarelse.

Once here we wanted to go towards the “northern” areas and eventually the same places where Zoltan had died near the owl bear area, in hopes that we could use the side corridor there and get to the Hammer room and try to find the gnoll who has the holy symbol to Thor or if not, eventually just chance getting into the room itself.

On the way we noted some sort of conversation of goblins and kobolds down a side corridor and the group got audacious. Fabambus took Karis only and the two of them entered the side hall and went up to the goblins as if they had all the right in the world to be down here.

Through some very light stumbling and serious bluffing, they made it seem that they were travelers from Byfortevile, a city below this one, run by something called Outsiders, and they were up here looking for a gnoll who had just gotten a promotion. There was lots of talk and the group learned that the gnolls were on alert from a “Bamph-mage” who came in named “V” and talked to Sakath and the Duergar (dark dwarves) to watch for a surface dwarf and an ogre who would be entering the area.

Some sort of alarm had been erected over the bridge area if either of those two approached and the gnolls had a bounty to take them (and their companions) if at all possible.

Goblins had been left alone up to 4 years ago until the gnolls and Sakath had come in here and began mining the old dwarven iron deposits, making lots and LOTS of axes, morningstars, helms, and shields. How many the gnome asked? The goblin thought and answered, enough of an army. We were told that the new gnoll captain who killed the surface man some months ago has an apartment on the southern area beyond the chasm – that is gnoll country. The northern part is goblin and kobold and the gnolls patrol it a bit up there and it is run by a nasty gnoll smith-wizard named Shengdu. The southern part isn’t really patrolled. The dark dwarves live in Byfortevile and Sakath answers to them.

We thanked them and went on our way, the party racing towards what had been the temple of Odin to get away from prying eyes and ears and to discuss what we had learned. From here it was a trip to the southernmost sloping passage and down the ancient cramped hall to the gnoll city.

We didn’t like it. The main road was 20’ wide and the area was lit by phosphorous fungus eerily green. We decided to go down the alley ways but the group didn’t have a real destination in mind. We snuck across to a side alley and picked our way carefully down. Karis led the way and kept the party quiet and moving along, avoiding what few gnoll signs he saw. We side stepped down a long alley choked with trash and while avoiding some children we were going towards the other main road when a back door opened up and Detheron was face to face with a surprised gnoll. He shoved it back into the house and slammed the door closed, trying to hold it. The alley was tight and the group couldn’t get there fast enough and then the druid shoved the door wide opened and dropped the gnoll inside to his rear, staff leading the way and Fodder and Smokey at his back.

But there was another gnoll in here and both of them were wroth at Detheron’s intrusion.

And we ended it here.