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.