Plans are what most party's come up with, and then discard or change, or alter - often to the frustration and amusement of the fine gentleman on the opposite side of the screen.
Things that this group has learned how to do:
Fire is good
Setting everything on fire is better.
If at all possible, act crazier than the craziest sonofabitch you can find.
Monsters are not always XP on the hoof - some are companions, meat shields, and even friends.
Treasure isn't always found by scouring rooms methodically.
Tis was a fast and ridiculous way to get the party's ass out of the dungeon and it was not my plan (they effectively skated past 60-70 encounter rooms on two levels!!) but as I have learned, my plans don't mean squat.
I am so looking forward to seeing what they do after this.
Write up follows:
Norris refused to treat his charmed and friendly hobgoblin with respect, and the hobgoblin returned the favor to the rest of the group, treating them all like trash. We talked about directions and which way to go and eventually the hobgoblin (who the group had taken to calling “Bob”) led the way.
The next chamber had half a dozen nets hanging from the ceiling, 15’ wide, 20 tall, bunched up on the floor. Plenty of room to maneuver around. Two doors out of here and Bob told us that through the right was a short hall, a time gate (door with a big clock on it), eventually a hall with ant statues, and then the ogres and drow the hobgoblins were trading with. We checked on the right door and sure enough, were a short hall with two doors, one with a 7’ clock set at 4:49. The group played with the clock but nothing was obvious on how to open it.
Instead of opening the other door though the group wanted to check on the opposite door in the net room. A look showed a dark hall running north and south. A further investigation revealed about 30’ north was a skeletal figure outside a door, grasping a silver key. Should the party investigate this way? Go back? Look around? What about the key and that room?
Eventually the party looked into the room. Fairly large with a chest on the other side. Bob was voted to go in and check out the chest. Key in hand he went closer and closer and when he touched the chest the door slammed closed and we heard a faint moaning. Group backed away and after 2 minutes a slot opened in the ceiling and a skeletal hobgoblin fell out, landing outside the door, silver key in its grasp.
Ok. Leave the door alone, got it.
We opted to go back and follow Bob’s original directions. The room opposite the time gate was big and covered in blood. Fresh blood. It coated the walls, floors, and ceiling. A half dozen boxes were in the south east corner festooned with markings of Hel upon it. A half dozen foot prints showed in the bloody floor. The group went across the chamber with care and only Olthar stayed behind, to make a short offering to the Hel marked boxes before leaving.
From here it was a long dark corridor with broken looking floor and numerous insectoid statues along the south wall. Olthar went scouting and reported back that it was a long trek, with no break in sight. We joined him for some distance until he got to a turn and the group got the feeling that we were circling in some fashion back to the large hall where Bob had been stripped of his skin and killed.
The passage south was short, a door on the right, ending at a left hand turn. Olthar went scouting but returned feeling that there was something on the wall, like a latent trap of sorts. Magical sight revealed it to be a glyph, one of alarming, which meant that there was a wizard down here – and we didn’t want to cross the barrier.
We dickered about for a bit until Zoltan in an uncharacteristic manner said screw this, crossed the barrier, and burst the door open shouting, “How the hell do I get outta this place?” Yelling at and surprising 11 ogres.
There was some fast talking (and a REALLY lucky reaction roll) but it was eventually decided that the ogres wouldn’t tell the “queen” (wizardress) about the party and would gladly escort them to the next level and give them directions on how to get out of here (big room with a pond, eastern corridor all the way, make a left, follow it out past the Trogs and Ant-men and you are up at the gnomish surface). We traded some coins for some arrows and eventually made our way out of the level.
On the next floor we discovered a scrag in a 3x3x3 cage, arms and legs hacked off. The troll was still alive and begged for freedom. There was a moment where the party thought about it and then Norris hit the troll with a charm spell – and it held. He was freed, water was poured on him, and his legs and arms regrew. Identified himself as Gruglin and said he had been sold to the Trogs as renewable food by the Sea witch Lyggvilda. He’ll make his way back at some point but right now he was happy to be with the party and to take his anger out on the Trogs that would carve him up for food and leave him piteously there until they needed more troll flesh to devour.
We wanted to take advantage of no one knowing we were here and the group hashed out some fast ideas. We gathered close and Detheron hit us with a Fairy Fire spell, Coruth’tae fired off an Audible Glamor, and the group began running to the east shouting yelling and making as much of a noise as possible.
We hit a room with a pool which Gruglin dived in and came up the other side, fully healed and hollering. The party followed and our clamoring and noise startled what locals we came across. A few troglodytes were seen running away, shouting out in alarm at our approach as we raced down a long hall. At the end we shifted left and ran northward, some trogs running ahead of us in the darkness, others going right.
As we made distance between us Coruth’tae dropped his glamor spell and shot off a fireball down the right hall, the flames concussing through the air, trogs screaming. A few tried to stand before the party but Arnog, Gwyn, and Gruglin ran them over without issue.
Eventually it opened up to a larger room where a 5 count of 7’tall ant men with two shields and two swords each were standing and waiting for us. Arrows flew, swords hacked, and we tried to overrun the ant men. One of them pointed at Arnog and told the fighter to “Die” and he did, collapsing without life! Gruglin mowed one down. Gwyn engaged another. The tiger charged forward and between it all the ant men hacked at the “down” Arnog trying to kill him. The battle raged across the room but the ant-men were outmatched and even though we were damaged, we took them out (Arnog stood up after a minute, the spell’s effect fading).
We heard MANY of the dungeon’s inhabitants following behind us and getting closer. The group opted to run out to the south, Coruth’tae Olthar and Soren staying back to try and slow down the pursuers with spell and fire if need be.