There is a sweet spot for mages/sorcerors where they have a number of utility spells that make them a boon to most parties. They can mend broken gear, polish armor, write spell scrolls, the ever handy sleep and magic missile never fail, and even the big hauls needing tenser's floating disk and the useful knock make the mage a much liked party member.
And then some schmuck gives them Fireball and the entire balance goes out the window.
A dozen goblins? Fireball! A troll? Fireball!! The door is locked? Fireball!! Too much treasure to carry? Fireball!! A mage with a fireball is about as bad as an archer that keeps shooting into melee - with poisoned arrows!
Our group has come to this point where the Fireball has now become a mainstay - it is impressive outdoors - but underground in small rooms and narrow confines - that 33,000 cubic feet adds up REAL fast. Take a standard 10x10x10 square - that's 1,000 cubic feet - so in your dungeon a fireball takes up THIRTY-THREE of those spaces. And no matter how much you try to space it out, you can count on Paddy Mc'Firefingers to hurl one at least once a night.
I can't wait for the first Wall of Fire.
Write up follows:
The group shot missile weapons at a distance from the slug, using the fact that it was squeezing through the doorway as a chance for some free shots as well as getting into position. Soren picked off the carrion crawlers, with Zoltan whipping sling bullets as well. Detheron stood his ground, calling on Frey to help him somehow reach the gigantic gastropod. Arrows sang and the group moved closed and crawlers were taken out and then Detheron was spat upon by the acidic spittle and he howled as the group ran forward and plied sword, axe, and knife into the slug’s hide.
As it was suffering Detheron was able to reach its simplistic mind and it was wailing in pain. It wanted the pain to stop and the druid was ordering the group to stop attacking the slug – but no one took the druid seriously. The slug was already dead it was just so massive and simple it hadn’t known it was actually dead yet. Once slain the party noticed that it had something inside and the party pushed and hacked and out of the slug’s innards was a half elf! He claimed he had been involved on the wrong end of a spell duel in Darkwaters and got zapped here – where the slug promptly ate him and then the party cut him Free. Identifying himself as Norris we welcomed him (with piles of concern – including the fact that he had a set of bagpipes with him!) discussed how damned tired we were. It was time to rest.
Since the big slug was blocking the door and there was no way to be attacked from behind, the party decided to rest here. We kept up double watch and the three elves took the majority of the watch for us. We awoke the next day and a round of clean spells went off and the party broke its fast before then hacking a path through the putrefying slug and into the hall beyond.
Detheron called to Frey and learned there was a single “hound” Northwest and some 11 amphibians north east. OK – the hellhounds had their butts kicked – it was voted on possibly going in their direction and taking the lone hound out. We opened the door; it was clear beyond, the hall showing some wear as if a cave-in happened in the past. Soren and Olthar scouted ahead and discovered a side hall to the right (to ice toads), two doors on the right, and what might have been a temple of some sort on the left – large wide open space very dark and smelling faintly of sulfur. Ok – Olthar sent Soren back to get the group and once the ranger was out of sight, the wood elf entered the temple himself and alone. Whoo hoo!!
He walked alone in the dark until his infravision picked up the obvious hellhound some 60’ away staring at him. The two of them stood still just looking at each other, the hound growling softly. Meanwhile the rest of the group moved forward, some of the party checking out doors, Coruth’tae watching the “toad” hallway, and Norris daring to look at the collapsed hall but not wanting to go any further into it. Soren was wondering where Olthar was and the thief was backing slowly out of the room, the hell hound striding closer. Detheron shot a flare spell at the ceiling illuminating the room and the canine shot a 20’ blast of fire at the wood elf who jumped wildly out of the way and ran forward with “Silverwind” leading the attack.
The fight was one sided until Norris took out his recorder (being threatened with having his bag pipes shoved down his throat if he pulled them out and played them down here in the dungeon) and playing “Hot Cross Buns” tried to sooth the Hellhound by fascinating it. And lo and behold – the bard’s skill actually WORKED!! The party watched with shock and awe as the hellhound stood there and watched Norris. Olthar walked behind the hound and with a sword held high, backstabbed the stunned and fascinated hellhound – killing it.
We checked out the room and discovered there was a doorway on the far end of the temple that was badly fire scarred and seemingly shoved into the jamb – requiring a bit of strength to open it. Once it was opened it was some sort of nave. Natural niches with small fetishes and offerings of old silver abounded around a central fountain of a woman with hands high and bluish water coursing down her body. A sealed sarcophagus was to the fountain’s left some of the gems on its surface having been plundered but much was still remaining. A plaque on the fountain read:
“Spirits blessing take and give the building blocks of who we are. They can allow us to breathe without drowning or become bloated within. The light of love in the palm of the hand or the touch to sour even the most stalwart of tastes. Aquinas loves all no matter the result but the blessings of the waterspirits are singular in nature. Singular always.”
Detheron assured us the water was safe to drink and the group was debating on drinking from the enchanted fountain. Olthar went first, taking a deep draught – and he was blessed with swelling thews! Increased Strength! The party then partook one after another except for Detheron and Zoltan. Both Norris and Soren swelled up with sudden weight, the bard perhaps 20 lbs but the slight and wiry wood elven ranger suffered a 40 lb weight gain, making him quite portly! Nothing seemed to happen to Coruth’tae or Arnog but perhaps it was one of the effects we couldn’t see happen.
Some of the silver on the shelves was taken off and pursed, the coffin was impossible to open but there were no locks we could see. Locked from the inside? Eeech. It wasn’t until Coruth’tae tried to take a vial of the enchanted water and the room darkened and it seemed the coffin began to shake. He dumped it back into the fountain and the party ran from the room, slamming it closed.
From here we went north from the temple and followed some corridors for a bit until we came to a 30x30 room with 1’ wide columns running from floor to ceiling. Each one was numbered. There was as single carving on the wall that read “Primality”. The numbers were looked over and the group decided they would try to pick the patch through the columns. Touching the column marked as “2” first resulted in the pillar glowing. We hit only the prime numbered columns and the group made it through without further concern.
From here there was a long corridor that went beyond our torch range. The first door on the left opened to what was a trophy room at some point in the past. A number of VERY lifelike statues abounded, most of them hobgoblins, elves, and dwarves. The centerpiece was a demonic looking elven woman being stabbed by a hobgoblin – both of them snarling at each other. No one touched anything. Smart!
From there it was two doors visible and more corridor. Olthar went to the first door and as Soren went to the 2nd he was shocked and surprised by two hobgobs in netting above his head in the shadows clad in black, and shooting blow guns at him. He dropped to the ground and passed out, down to -3. Norris activated his levitating boots and took the fight to the hobgobs and the party tried to attack as the monsters dropped a pair of Thunderglasses on the floor deafening the bard, the unconscious ranger, and the thief.
The hobgobs released the netting and came to the ground and Arnog and Gwyn went to the front ready to do battle. In the room beyond them was the sound of running feet and it was thrown wide and almost 30 well armed and armored foes were there! Plying halberds, Morningstars, and bows – they peppered the fighter and the dwarf mercilessly and the two warriors gave the fight back. Olthar chanced to look in the other room and saw that it was all fire scarred and there was the outline of a man on the west wall, and the north wall was badly damaged and it looked like there was some sort of crawlspace or room beyond the collapsing ceiling. He shut the door.
It was at this point that one would expect our mage to send forth a Fireball – and Coruth’tae didn’t let us down! He hurled it into the room with a mighty road and the hobgobs inside were hit and set ablaze – and then the small room was unable to keep the 33,000 cubic feet of fire contained and it smashed into the hall and drove both directions slamming into everyone – doing terrible damage. Most of the hobgoblins were killed but the party was now pretty hurt.
Arnog and Gwyn were giving the grey elf a serious stink eye as they waded into the remaining 9 hobgoblins and sought to take them down as fast as possible. Zoltan ran down the hall for some reason and the party suspected that from all the sounds we were hearing – there were still a bunch of hobgoblins to contend with. And we ended it here – starting round 4 of battle.