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.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Meet 81, Adv 8, 10/24/09

I like traps. What DM doesn't? I like pit traps especially. Ages ago I had the pleasure of having a number of my characters dies in Pit Traps. Since then I was hooked. I have had just about every iteration of pit traps and mechanical death filled dungeons possible (Funhouse Dungeon of Henewai?) but as my role playing matured I left the pit traps behind. Much to my unknowing dismay.

The party stumbled into the trapped area that was behind two sets of impossible to pick locked doors needing specific keys - and through the hallway with a score of zombies and a handful of ghouls and ghasts hiding within. The big pay off seemed to be two pieces of specific looking silver jewelry - under a 4 ton statue of a squat toad. And there were 6 rope wrapped pegs with a cryptic clue to decipher. And under the place where they would stand to pull the pegs was a pit trap with spikes and green slime. Damn, the only thing missing was a lever.

Adventurers are adventurers because they DO stupid things like this and take the risks - so they can get the big treasure. Otherwise they would just be inn keepers and blacksmiths and be content with their handful of silver a day.

But with risks do come the spectre of death and that befell the group this meeting. We lost our paladin for which I was sorry to see it happen. The guy playing him is new to our group, only being there for 6-8 meetings; and he is young, just over 20; and he does not have much old school D&D experience, playing mostly 3.5 and 4.0. But I LIKED the way he was playing his paladin and noted that he did make the right effort and was a boon to the table and the party. Yes he died, but he died with flair (getting smashed under 8,000 lbs of falling frog shaped stonework is flair-y!!) and I know that whatever he rolls up next (supposedly thinking about a fighter/bard) works just as well.

Write up follows:

After some time the sound of the hellhounds and ice toads doing battle grew fainter and eventually ended as the two parties separated. Detheron used his still open connection with Frey to verify the two parties had moved away, confident that neither side was the apparent victor.

As for where to go, it was a tossup with Damian championing going into the dark and gloomy evil feeling corridor and Detheron wanting to NOT go into the corridor! But it was put to discussion and Zoltan and Gwyn were the voices of support to the paladin and the group opted to use the mirrored short swords to open the side door.

A recheck with Baldur guiding him was enough to set Damian’s mind at rest that the corridor was as we viewed it before, and aura of evil coming from within. The group hesitated on entering but Olthar was voted/volunteered to enter. He tossed some bone fragments at the closest overbearing 20’ tall statues, hitting each but nothing special occurring. He entered, infravision illuminating the way. The corridor was cool and even. He didn’t like the alcoves to either side (there were 8 of them, 4 on each side, each with a huge giant statue), with the rotting velvet looking curtain hanging before them. Cautiously he entered behind one, stepping around the giant statue.

It was in the darkness that something struck it, three times with bone snapping impacts. He turned and ran, yelling that he was under assault. Damian stepped in with his sledgehammer drawn and ran behind the statue yelling out his god’s name. Gwyn tossed a flask of oil through the other side of the alcove and Arnog brought the lantern near so we could see what was there. Very dead and rotting zombie dwarves.

The group entered the corridor (except for Soren, Zoltan, and Coruth’tae who stayed in the 20’ square outer chamber) and readied weapons as Gwyn lit torch and threw it at the oil soaked wall, setting one zombie on fire and showing two others shuffling out to attack. Damian smashed into the closest and did battle with the undead while the dwarf set his enchanted shield firmly against his arm and raced into the alcove to shield rush another shambling undead. There was a crumbling pop and the damn thing was consumed from the shield’s power.

But more of them came out, behind every statue, every alcove; zombies came out and shuffled in our direction. Detheron drew his boar spear and slammed it into a close one, sinking it in deep and holding it from advancing. Olthar switched from dagger to short sword and plied blade against another one. Soren put away his bow and drew out a torch, using it as a club as he helped Detheron take out the closest and Arnog aided Olthar. The zombies raised their arms up and brought them down, hitting the group but no real damage was done, only some bruises and scrapes. The zombies continued to advance crowding around Olthar and getting closer.

Gwyn continued to beat the closest he could reach with Damian whacking another one, the two fighters tearing deeply into the undead. The dwarf dropped his and Damian changed over to his great sword with Sif’s Tears coating it. Zoltan entered and taking stock of the combat climbed the nearest giant statue until he was around the edifice’s chest level. Detheron watched the approaching zombies, counting over 15 of them, and shook his head, dropping the boar spear and relying on Soren to take the undead down. He called to Frey and summoned a Flaming Sphere and sent it rolling down in a straight line hitting 4 of the closing zombies. Three were set ablaze, the 4th stepped OUT of the way! This 4th one looked at Detheron with hate filled eyes and snarled.

Two of the zombies approaching suddenly raced forward and ran right at Detheron hitting him with filthy claws and biting at him. Ghouls! Damn it! The druid was struck and his limbs froze in place as he was paralyzed. Damian came charging out behind and smiting evil clove one of the ghouls in twain while the paralyzed Detheron still used his connection to his Flaming Sphere to bring it back towards him, burning 2 more zombies. The “commanding” undead leapt up onto of a local statue and took view of the fight while Olthar was almost surrounded by pummeling Zombies.

Hoping to leap his way free, the agile wood elf threw himself sideways but slipped and was knocked on the head and back, driven to the ground while one of the zombies grappled with him, twisting his back like a pretzel. He began yelling for help. Zoltan drew his water skin and yelled to Coruth’tae, NOW!, squirting the ghouls and zombies below surrounding Detheron. The elven mage changed the water to Firewater and Arnog smashed the lantern into the wandering undead, setting them all ablaze. Whoosh!

More Zombies tried to close. Soren was beating one to death with his torch and Gwyn ran into the fight, sidestepping the flaming sphere to shield rush another one. Arnog ran to help Olthar who was wounded and bleeding badly. The number of zombies was beginning to thin. The last ghoul went down in fire and swords. Coruth’tae sighted on the last “commanding” undead and sent a fireball screeching towards him. It leapt down at the last moment and took only a partial blast of fire, but three more zombies were blown away.

Zoltan climbed down and Gwyn charged the commander who we discovered was actually a ghast! Dangerous. The party surged forward and Damian called on to turn undead and a number of them reversed their direction and shambled away. Our gypsy released Detheron from his paralysis and the druid sent his flaming sphere ripping into the retreating zombies as the group finished off the ghast. Battle over.

We doled out healing and took stock of the area. No other enemies were here and we figured we were safe for a short time. The statues all were 20’ tall and all of them but one had their eyes removed, gemstones – red in color. Olthar, healed a bit now, wanted to climb up and take a look but the party wanted him to wait. There was a door on the other end of the corridor and it had the same sort of locks we had to use the swords to get past. Hmm.

Some experimentation was required and we figured out that we could use ONE of the swords to open the door, allowing us to use the 2nd sword to open this next set of doors. Olthar meanwhile used crowbar and hammer and gouged the gem stones free, netting two rubies for his efforts. Nice!

We looked in the next room. Large, some 60’ across, 50’ tall ceiling, rounded corners, alcove on the far side. A raised dais was in the middle with metal loops set in all 8 cardinal directions, a silver jeweled circlet and scepter sitting on it. Suspended above was a 4-ton stone statue 20’ diameter of a squatting frog, chains along the edges and going up to a knot of ropes into a hole in the ceiling. On the left side of the room a hole in the ceiling and 6 ropes taut coming out and down, wrapped around wooden posts sticking out of the wall just over a bronze plaque with something written on it. Trap room. Oh boy.

The group did NOT want to walk under the frog statue and expected doing so would result in massive death. Damian volunteered to enter and looked around. He went to the plaque and read it:

“Amphian the Behemoth watches his treasures too. If you hoped you won a free bit of treasure than go forth and pull the fifth rope free. But don’t call out in misery if you end up getting deep sixed”

The group mulled it over. Pulling the 5th rope (the dowels were numbered) was decided to be wrong. But they looked it over and deduced: “won”, “too”, “forth”, “fifth”, and “sixth” were there – and “3” was absent. 3rd rope SHOULD be safe. Could they do an Indiana Jones thing and try to sweep the scepter and crown off? Maybe use the rope of entangling and lasso it? Opted to instead use the clues as figured out and follow the plan.

Damian went back in and carefully pulled the third wooden post free – and the rope slithered out of the ceiling! 25’ of slack appeared, very nice. Now what? Gwyn suggested tying the rope to the metal loops on the dais and it seemed the rope could reach 5 of the loops. Which one? The frog was facing south, the direction of the plaque. That was thought about, but discarded and instead it was guessed to tie it on the one closest to the doorway out. Stepping under the groaning and creaking suspended frog our paladin carefully inserted the rope through the loop, pulled it slowly until the slack was taut, and then tied the first knot.

And the frog dropped from 20’ above and smashed the young holy warrior to Baldur. Killing him. A spray of blood burst from underneath and we heard Damian shout but it was too late as 4 tons of statue ground him to pulp and smashed the silver jeweled scepter and crown to splinters.

Son of a bitch!!!

Someone in the group commented, “Yeah. Didn’t see THAT coming,” getting some nervous chuckles out of us, but not dispelling the suddenly somber mood. Olthar walked around the room while the group thought about what went wrong, and how to lift the frog again. The back alcove area was about 20’ square with an 8’ circle scratched deeply in the smooth stone floor, almost half an inch deep. He told the rest of the party about it and the party thought about what it meant.

There was though about moving or cutting one of the ropes to see if it raised the frog and Olthar cut one free. Opening a pit 15’ square right under his feet. The wood elf dropped and only through blind luck managed to snag an out thrust shaft of metal, dangling over a 30’ deep pit with 6’ spikes at the bottom and greenish slime surrounding the spikes like a small pool. Damn it.

He was fumbling in his backpack for his rope but could only reach his underwear (which Gwyn said was good because he probably needed it about now). Detheron used his cut rope of entangling and tried to drop and end to grab onto Olthar – but the entangling rope instead wrapped around the wood elf’s hand, wrist, forearm, AND the metal bar. Detheron was standing over the pit, rope pointing down, connecting to the wrapped Olthar who was now tied to the metal bar.

And it was then that Zoltan heard the sounds of Hellhounds approaching from far down the corridor. Oh yeah, it can get better. Because at that moment the pit trap snapped shut, cutting Detheron’s rope and dropping the length down the pit where it added to the huge knot around Olthar’s arm and the metal shaft; the wood elf yelling for help under the stone slab.

Detheron ran to Zoltan and using one of his remaining spells cast a quench down the hall at the Hellhounds who were VERY unexpecting it and to a total, 5 of them died instantly. Whoo hoo! Arnog was sent down to get one of the hellhound corpses and with Zoltan’s advice, through it at the closed pit, hoping to open it. It didn’t work. Hmmm. Soren offered to cut one of the ropes with his arrow. He took aim and shot – bull’s-eye! The next rope cut and the pit opened, hellhound dropping into the spikes and green slime below and began to dissolve.

Detheron cast Spider Climb on himself and using knife and axe, Olthar and him cut the wood elf free while Gwyn spiked the pit trap open. We pulled Olthar free and more healing was dispensed all around. We needed to rest, and soon. Some of the group wanted to rest in here but there was some discussion against it as there was no apparent way to lock ourselves in without the mirrored swords. Detheron said he could meld the stone if need be to get us out and we wanted him to test it.

He was shut in and the sword was removed from the other side of the door. When he tried to cast a spell to soften the stone it sort of failed and sparks ran away from him across the floor towards the alcove with the scribed circle. Weird. We let him out and thought that something about the room changed while the door was shut. We then thought about staying in the hall with the giant statues where the zombies were. We spent some time dragging zombies and hell hounds into the green slime pit, dumping them in and watching the level rise slowly as their mass was added to the slime below.

Gwyn thought the giant statues would still come to life at some point (kept saying “when”, not “if”) and wanted to try to knock one down. It took most of the party to help shove and push and pry and lean but the statue leaned over and then fell down with a mighty crash. It was a statue, nothing more. There was nothing under it either.

However the raucous noise sounded long throughout the complex and the group stopped to listen and spotted the giant slug we had snuck past before coming our way, a small gathering of carrion crawlers milling about its base as it entered the huge corridor we were in.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Meet 80, Adv 8, 10/17/09

Sometimes a character will inadvertently become the target of a particular aspect/creature/ or situation in your adventures. Over the many years I've had at least 2 people become infatuated with squirrels (one of them becoming an advocate of the furry tailed beasts and another doing all he could to kill one - even if it meant falling off a mountain to slaughter one of them), I had another character fail every check against haunts no matter what, I even had one character try to lift and toss every cabinet he could find.

This current group has our hapless paladin Damian become the hated target of just about every invertebrate we've run across. Rot grubs, leeches, scraglings, giant slugs, and now carrion crawlers - if it oozes along in order to locomote itself and most likely exudes some sort of slimy residue - it's gone after our paladin. It's uncanny but the poor lad is just target numero uno.

Another thing I liked about this session is the fact that the group skipped past some 10 encounter areas that would have ground them down. A dozen or less scrags, a pair of alligators, a devious pit trap, three armed and armored ogre fighters, an ettin, and a sea hag. And they did it by taking the time to talk to the denizens instead of plying them with sword and spell. Good for them.

Of course that doesn't ALWAYS work, but in this case - they skipped along and did so with most of their skin and gear intact.

Write up follows:

Zoltan stayed back with the gigantic female troll, Coruth’tae stayed within yelling distance, and the rest of the group went back into the cavern to the roper and proceeded to chop it up into manageable 30 lb pieces, tossing them to Olthar and Soren who ferried them back and forth to the scragling pool. It was difficult work, taking the majority of 2 hours until completion.

Afterwards we spoke to the trolless and learned of what was in the area. There was a large cave with two other ways out of here: one to the North east led in a winding pattern through a nest of scrags. There were between 10 and 20 of them in 6 sizeable chambers and they bent knee to a witch hag named Lyggvilda. The trolless had little respect for the scrags and thought that if the party dispatched some of them it wouldn’t trouble her. The entire cave complex ended at single cave with a secret way that could be used to get into Lyggvilda’s hidden cave and eventually the back of her keep.

The other way was to travel southeast to Lyggvilda’s Keep itself. In the back of the keep was a corridor that would lead the party into a long corridor that sloped upward and eventually out of the scrag area. But Lyggvilda was identified as a witch and had some guards: some 10’ tall shaggy figured and an even taller one with two heads.

We thanked the trolless who went back to her own cave and the group discussed options going back and forth on what we could expect. Going to the scrags would allow us to approach the keep by surprise and get the drop on them – but there were a lot of scrags, and we learned that some of the caves had water in them. But a frontal assault on the keep was an option and we wouldn’t have our resources drained by constant scrag fighting. Besides, we should at least see the keep and make our decisions then.

The keep was set into the side of the cavern itself, the walls some 30’ tall and 30’ wide, at least 50’ long. A moat surrounded the keep, less than 10’ from the wall and about 10’ wide, filled with oily greenish water. A chimney was along the furthest wall, glowing softly and smoking faintly. The drawbridge was up. We discussed possibly opening it. Jumping across. Using a knock spell. Fighting in the keep. Fighting out of the keep. Going into the chimney.

Eventually it was Zoltan who suggested that maybe we DIDN’T have to fight. Why not call out to the inhabitants and see if we could buy our way through? Did we really WANT to fight some hag witch? We parleyed with an inhabitant and told him we wanted passage to the corridor beyond. Were we willing to pay? Sure we were!

The bridge lowered and an armored ogre with a double bitted axe stepped out and said passage was going to be 500 crowns. Hmm, we could afford it. Gwyn was talking to the ogre (as the only one who spoke ogrish) and taking Zoltan’s “ogre sex statue” went to show it to the guard. He said it was nice, but wasn’t worth enough. Zoltan added the bag of platinum coins he had snagged from the Roper’s gut and the ogres were pleased to let us pass.

The keep’s interior held another ogre as well as an ettin and in the bag was a shrouded and frightening appearing hag. Only her eyes were visible in the dark cowl and she wished us well as we opted not to stay and chat, moving on to the corridor as mentioned (and not the other doors that led further into the keep), only some passing shots as she recognized Damian as a paladin and we were through.

The corridor wandered loosely in a curving pattern from SE to S to SW to W, eventually rising a few degrees as we walked. We had been warned that there was a giant slug in the area and we watched carefully for sign, Soren and Olthar finding it after a half hour of travel. Detheron called to Frey to help him find animals, specifically slugs! And there, some 200 feet away was one.

We got ourselves ready, learning from our people that they could be large, 20’ or more, and they spit acid. Nice. Not knowing how far they were when it was to happen, Detheron was keeping tabs on the slug, it closed to 60’ from him and he tried to dominate it. He failed and the gastropod spit at 60’ away a globule of acid at Detheron – hitting him dead on. His enchanted armor hissed, his clothes shredded, he took some burns, and his staff of webs that he was holding shuddered and snapped, sending 6 web spells immediately into the area around the druid. Damian jumped forward but the webs caught Detheron, Soren and Zoltan cold. And it also blocked off the rest of the party.

From the slug and Damian.

Damian went to pull Detheron out but the webs were tough and the rest of the party tried to help Zoltan and Soren. Coruth’tae shot a Hail Mary lightning bolt down the hall and it scored against the giant slug before returning back to us and then ending before striking the party. The slug spit at Damian, hitting his in the back and melting his backpack and dropping some of his belongings. Damn it, including his potions.

Furious now he drew his sledge hammer and charged the slug bashing into it with all his fury and anger again and again. But none of his blows did anything permanent to the slug and the party was shouting at him to use slashing weapons! Detheron pulled himself forward a bit but was pulled up short after only a few feet. We hacked out Zoltan and eventually Soren while the slug bit and dribbled acid on the paladin. As the druid finally pulled himself out and yelled “Clear!” Gwyn set fire to the webs and we backed away as the fire ate the strands with terrible ease.

After that the group went to charge at the slug but Detheron tried to dominate the huge gastropod again – succeeding this time! He was controlling the slug and could feel what it was feeling – including Damian hitting it! The battle was put on hold and we snuck past the slug as Detheron had it run against the left wall and we moved on into the darkness putting the slug behind us until the spell was over.

After some time we came to an area where the walls took on a finished look. 20’ wide with feeble torches set in the walls every 8 paces. There were niches on both sides with bases and bottoms of old statues there. The group stopped to rest while Damian and Olthar went to check one of them out. There were old cracks running behind them almost a foot wide and some 3’ tall. Taking the lantern the paladin bent down to check one out and the wood elf with him heard a slapping sound.

Then 3 others.

Damian wasn’t moving and Olthar was asking him what was up. He tried to pull him away from the hole and in doing so revealed a carrion crawler had hit the paladin and paralyzed him. Damn. Another was coming out and one was inching forward from the other side. Soren shot the closest one and even Coruth’tae did while Gwyn and Arnog pulled the paladin back to “safer” part of the corridor. Detheron began using his herbal lore to come up with an anti-toxin to the effect but it would take 10 minutes. Olthar was also saved although the thief was only hit lightly by the tentacles. Detheron had his tiger tear the wounded crawler to bits and then the group dragged the carcass back until we were out of the view and range of any potential crawlers.

Damian was able to move at long last and decided that after rot grubs, leeches, scrags, slugs, and now carrion crawlers that he was very skittish about any sort of mucus worm/slug creatures from now on. The druid went to work on the crawler and extracted 5 doses of the paralytic toxin from the gland in its body which both Soren and Olthar took.

We guessed that we needed to run across the hall as the crawlers didn’t come out quickly or in force. So we did so, moving single file. We counted the niches, five of them, eventually ending at a double set of doors. Behind us a pair of crawlers had come out of the 1st niches and Zoltan started winging sling bullets at them, hitting them and scaring them back into the holes. But more kept coming and the group had to decide now what to do. We opened the door and beheld a 20’x20’ room with two other double doors, one with a large brass relief on it with two shaft slots at 10 and 2, the other set of doors showing lots of tracks and filth as if heavy use. We piled in and shut the door behind us on the crawlers and took stock of the situation.

The closed and locked door had shown no traffic while the other showed what seemed to be a multitude of tracks, some of them canine-like. As for the brass relief, the slots were flattened oval shaped. Zoltan nodded and took out the mirrored short swords, sliding them into each hole where they each gave what seemed to be a blast of light. And then the door gave a sigh and was openable.

The hall beyond was wide with a 30’ vaulted ceiling. Deep niches with 20’ tall wind-blown looking giant statues lined both sides of the hall as far as out lantern revealed. There was the scent of rotted meat in there. Damian tried to detect evil and got a number of vibes from the chamber. The group wanted the door closed and Damian wanted to go in and clear it. There was a bit of a stand off and it seemed that some of the party didn’t understand Damian’s conviction and how important this was for the young paladin but he was placated (for now) with the knowledge that were going to look down the other corridor 1st and get a feel for what was in that way.

A short look showed a corridor with two side branches, soot and cracks ran along the walls in places as if some sort of fire or magic took place in here. We shut the door and after some discussing had Coruth’tae use his illusion to make it seem like a number of “people” were on the other side whistling. It attracted some sort of barking canines as well as something else and there was suddenly a melee going on the other side of the door. It was loud and filled with barks and blasts of flame and odd croaking and we chanced to look down the hall to see half a dozen hell hounds fighting what seemed to be almost a dozen pale bluish 10’ frogs dribbling ice and frost.

We shut the door and talked about our options while the fight on the other side wound down.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Meet 79, Adv 8, 10/10/09

Ah yes, the age old issue of shooting into battle. I used to play it where a fumble would automatically strike a friend but changed my ruling as I developed the fumble charts (from Dragon magazine) and rolled into 3rd edition. Simple enough - if you shoot into battle and MISS by more than 4, I have you roll again to hit a friendly. Don't have to worry about that if you have Precise Shot.

Our group has had some rather funny instances of shooting into melee and in this regard it was no different. However it WAS at our party gypsy who only just came back from the dead. And it was from our resident dwarf who would rather be a 2nd line archer fighter as opposed to front line battle swinging hero. So he is all geared up for fighting in the front - but never wants to! And he's shot party members before.

What's funny to me is that I know he will shoot party members again. :)

Write up follows:

We talked about our options and decided the water logged cavern was not a good idea, neither was the one with the Troll sounds in it – that left the center one. It was wide, 10 to 15’ in many places, the ceiling as tall if not taller. Loose rock was on the floor and some cracks ran across the ceiling in places but Gwyn assured us it was safe.

Olthar and Soren went first just outside of light range and scouted as we followed behind. It was a short time later when it forked to the left and right – the left side possibly opening into a larger cave. We discussed options and the group moved closer. Eventually Olthar was checking the right side and Coruth’tae the left. At that point a giant cave tick made a prodigious 45’ leap and barreled into the grey elf, burrowing its head into his gut and sucking his blood.

The group tried to knock the tick free but its carapace was thick. Torches were lit and Gwyn tried to burn the thing’s head but it was sucking Coruth’tae and the elven wizard was growing weaker. Eventually it was burned and set ablaze and hit and struck and it jumped free back into the cavern on the left. There was a brief moment when it was debated about tossing a Fireball in there but the group decided against it.

Meanwhile Zoltan had stayed behind and the experienced thief’s instincts paid off as he heard a scrag picking its way closer from the main cave they had just come from. Thinking quickly he shouted back in Giantish some encouraging words and threats and the Troll stopped, replied in kind that it would back away, and did so!

We nursed Coruth’tae back to standing and decided that we would move on, hoping to find a place to rest as we were growing exhausted. Opting to leave the tick and its room behind we went right, deeper into the darkness. The corridor looked worse and worse, with many areas of ruptured ceiling and debris laden floor. Gwyn was growing a bit concerned and advised us to be even more careful. We picked our way across the weaker parts with caution, Detheron opting to use Coruth’tae’s wire puzzle to turn himself 2 dimensional and be carried forward.

From here we returned to the two wood elves walking ahead to scout and the group following. Eventually they came to an area with a number of stalagmites and then what seemed to be a cleft in the stone, 7’ tall, 4’ wide, with a scattering of silver coins in front of it. Hmm. They returned to the group and let us know what was in place. Zoltan followed them and didn’t like the look of the place. He took a loose stone from the floor and threw it and it seemed to hit a silver coin – but did nothing to the coin! Odd. Further tests did the same.

Coruth’tae was called forward and the illusionist eventually agreed with our experienced spelunker. When it was time to hit a stalagmite instead, the thrown rock bounced off one of them that seemed to unfold to 10’ tall, 5’ wide at the base, with 6 long tentacles hanging off its side. Damn! A Roper!! It hurled two of its tentacles forward, not at the group, but just over their head into the ceiling – causing it to cave down.

Damn it! Zoltan, Coruth’tae, and Damian all ran forward, Olthar and Arnog got buried under the stone, and Gwyn, Soren, Detheron and the tiger all ran backward to avoid the falling stone. The roper snagged Zoltan and its tentacles immediately drained a bit strength from the gypsy. However as it began to pull him forward, the thief hurled himself at the Roper and nailed it with a surprise hit with his bleeding knife and his short sword!

Olthar held his breath, badly hurt but still alive. Arnog was frantic, trying to pull himself forward but rocks kept whacking him in the head. Damian tried to hack the tentacle holding Zoltan to no avail and the Roper actually tried to shove the gypsy into its maw, biting and tearing into the thief who was fighting to keep himself free. Meanwhile Detheron held his Heimdall’s Bulwark over the top of the now 6’ tall pile of fallen rocks and called for a ward – the rainbow shield appearing to hold further rocks from falling onto the pile!

The tiger ran ahead and attacked the Roper. Gwyn and Soren both took to the hill and began firing crossbows and arrows at the Roper who grabbed Coruth’tae and drained some of his strength, biting at him, his back teeth circumventing his shield spell (which only affects his front). The tiger eventually bit its way through Zoltan’s tentacle and the Roper was growing weaker, but managed to bite Zoltan hard, tearing the thief’s right ear off! And then to add insult to injury, Gwyn accidentally shot the gypsy with a crossbow bolt during the tightly pressed melee. It was growing more difficult in the corridor to fight and get a blow against the Roper. Arnog managed to pull himself free and then bent down and dug Olthar out as well.

Damian tried to gag the Roper with his own tower shield and body! Blows were raining hard and furious and then the Roper gave a gasp and shudder and Coruth’tae’s shadow wand ripped the last of life from the subterranean horror and it was done. The group was then divided – stay here or get to the other side of the pile – Detheron was announcing the ward was going to fall. Half the group stayed with Zoltan who was digging in the Roper’s gut for his ear (also finding out the Roper’s CAN’T digest platinum – it was at the beast’s belly ;) ) and the other half ran away and the ward fell and more rocks rained down.

The illusion of the silver coins and oval opening had faded with the Roper’s demise. Gwyn, Damian, Detheron, Coruth’tae and the tiger were on one side of the now 30’ long, 10’ wide, 9’ tall pile, while Arnog, Zoltan, Soren, and Olthar were on the other with the dead Roper.

And then the giant tick leapt out of the darkness and hit Gwyn in the back. Damn it! Plus, from the steady diet of scrag blood, the tick had developed the ability to regenerate. Just lovely! The dwarf was knocked down and with only half the party able to help the combat was looking grim. Gwyn tried to stab the tick but the angle was bad. Damian hit it with his sword but the blows were resounding as the dwarf began losing blood. Torches were plied as well as oil and the dwarf and the tick were ablaze in short order.

Gwyn was struck by Damian’s sword at least once and it was with herculean efforts that the tick was eventually slain (with a big thanks from Coruth’tae’s well timed shadow wand again). The group sluiced over the mound of rocks and we decided that the dead end corridor with the huge imposing pile of stones in front of it was as good a place as any to rest for the night.

Watches were doled out and the group went off to slumber. Shortly after everyone went to sleep during Damian’s watch, Zoltan stood up, drew his knife, and began cutting the dwarf’s crossbow and bow strings. The paladin tried to rouse the group but only Detheron woke up who took in the scene, heard Zoltan’s complaint that he was not going to be shot in the back ever again by the careless dwarf, and subtly agreed, telling Damian they’ll take care of it in the morning.

During the night we were approached by a pair of Crab Spiders but they were dispatched easily. A scrag came to investigate but Coruth’tae used Zoltan’s trick of talking Giant and convinced the troll to move on. Eventually the group woke up – tired and drawn out, but better for the sleep. Zoltan and Gwyn were feverish and pale – sick from the deep we were in. Detheron offered to cure both of their diseases but Zoltan told him not to worry about him, to heal the dwarf instead.

It was then that Gwyn saw his weapons and wanted to know what happened. Zoltan flat out admitted it and the two of them had some words, the dwarf shrugging and saying, “When it comes time that you would want me to “take a shot” and I can’t – it’ll be your fault.” We broke our fast and decided to go back to the main cavern and see if there was another option at our disposal.

We climbed over the pile and walked in the darkness, eventually getting to the tick room. No more giant types were in there, just hundreds of smaller types ranging from normal to the size of someone’s thumb. We opted not to risk it and continued on to the main cavern where we heard the sound of a scrag wandering in the water.

Damn it. Zoltan tried talking to it in Giant and the scrag replied, decidedly female, that it could smell us. Double crap – it was the big female. We parlayed with her a bit and she was wroth that we had damaged the scraglings – which we eventually learned were the lamprey looking things in the oily pool. She wanted repayment of it by sending forth the one that did it – we lied and said that the Roper had killed that one.

She was mollified a bit by it but wanted us to still feed the scragling pool. Bring us the Roper and dump it in. If we did that, she would consider us square and let us on our way unmolested (by her at least – if other scrags wanted to take a shot at us, that was their problem and most likely stupidity). IF we did kill any mature scrags, that was ok – just do NOT harm the young anymore. Seems the scrags were taken in by something called Lyggvilda and the larger female scrag had no respect for it or the easily led scrags.

The group was sent back down the corridor to get the half ton Roper and somehow drag it over the pile of rocks of if that failed, chop it up and drag the pieces. And that’s where we left it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Meet 78, Adv 8, 10/3/09

We have a large group around the table now, larger than I've had for some time (most of my groups have been 4-5): when everyone is there I have 8 people - not counting my daughter who comes around with plastic food, my girlfriend who sits behind my screen with me now and again and wonders what the hell is going on, and various player's significant others who show up from time and again.

One of my fears about larger groups is the game dragging down slower and slower - but I am very pleased with the people who've come to join us. All 3 of them are engaging, willing to jump right in, trying to work WITH the group instead of AGAINST it, and lastly funny.

And frankly funny is one of the most important things. We get together around a table because there is a social aspect that is missing from EQ2 or WOW or the like even with the best Ventirllo servers. And when good natured people get together in a state of camaraderie at some point the jokes and funnies will flow.

And that was my last meeting. It's been a while since I've laughed behind the DM's screen that long and that hard (the last time was when this current group had a penchant for whipping out the 500# gorilla and throwing it in the main bad guy NPC's face) but this has been the case at the recent game. I'm still thinking about it:

(Laugh number 1) Paladin, shining straight and true, maybe a flowing cape and a sword, wraps his face with the tail of his cloak and runs into a filthy fly and maggot choked cleft in a cave rife with rotting fish heads, decaying meat and whatnot and on the fourth step gets overcome from the stench and slams onto his face in the slurry of run off and passes out. And no one wants to risk going in there to get him.

(Laugh number 2) Paladin has come out, admonished to be safer, and the group uses ropes to get the "treasure" on the dead guy out of the back of the cleft. Rest of group runs away from the paladin and dead guy and paladin reaches down to take treasure - gets hit with rot grubs. Jumping around with a knife and yelling, "Shit! Fuck! Shit! Help!" as he is stabbing himself in the wrist, forearm and bicep in a mad effort to kill the wriggling worms burrowing under his skin. And then he steps in the shallow pool and a pair of 2' long lampreys attack to his ankle and shin and he's still dancing around yelling and stabbing himself and with sucking leech like worms flapping about his foot as he is jumping and hollering.

I know you have to be there sometimes to get the full image, but really - it's 3 Stooges like material.

Write up follows:

The broken bits of the Drooling Queen and her passengers fell through a chasm in the sewer’s floor, a whirlpool that ran through rock, mud, and gravelly stone until we slipped and fell a short distance into even more water. The pattering of falling rock and water rained on top of us in the darkness until the hole above us was choked off and plugged from above. Zoltan whistled up a quick light spell and in the glow of the eldritch light we all rejoined one another. The water was about 4 and a half deep and flowed very sluggishly in one direction, a wall visible in one direction the other wall and ceiling out of our vision. A few large pieces of the fungus boat were here, many smaller ones still abounding. Gwyn, the shortest in the group, snagged one of the bigger pieces for himself and Damian offered to drag it behind him with some rope. Arnog held Detheron’s lantern aloft after the druid had it lit and we talked about our options.

Going back was not a choice. The area we were in was perhaps 30’ wide and the roof was maybe 30’ over our heads. We talked for a bit and looked through our belongings, dismayed to find that most of us with scrolls, paper, or journals had our items soaked and in some cases ruined. We opted to go “upstream” and walked that way.

The water deepened slowly and the roof came lower. One by one the party was forced to hold onto Gwyn’s floating piece of the boat until it was obvious we couldn’t go much further. Detheron stripped down and handing his equipment and clothes to Arnog concentrated and transformed himself into a large 50# snapping turtle. Then getting his bearings swam further upstream. It wasn’t much longer before the water was fully under the stone ceiling and deepened to 10’ or so deep. He had gone for a little bit but there was no way the party was going to make it this far – so he turned back and swam for the group, informing them of what he had seen.

With a lack of other choices we went downstream, finding out shortly that the roof was dropping in height and the water was deepening this way as well. We did catch up to other pieces of floating fungus and the group all grabbed pieces of them to float on. We kicked and floated our way along until the pathway had narrowed to 15’ and it sounded like it was getting to an open area up ahead. At this point we strung ourselves together into a single line with Zoltan and Gwyn at opposite ends (strong swimmers) with Arnog, Damian, and Coruth’tae in the middle, the grey elf having cast Tenser’s Floating Disk on which both Olthar and Soren sat upon with eyes peeled and bow ready. Detheron and his tiger swam behind and we moved on.

The stream opened into some smallish underground lake, our voices and noises echoing in the gloom. Zoltan tried hard and listened for the distant sound of shore, guessing it was ahead of us and to our right. Detheron called on Frey and asked to locate animals – feeling lots of small blind cave fish – but also two 15’ long slowly undulating eels some distance away. Soren readied an arrow while it was hit with a light spell and shot in the direction that Zoltan guessed was land – the illuminated bolt soaring over the water and indeed passing over a sizeable outcropping of stone.

We began swimming in that direction, one of the eels coming towards us. Detheron hit it with a Hold Animal spell and we kicked onward eventually reaching the isle. It wasn’t large – a collection of stone maybe 25’ diameter, with the remains of what seemed to be a log raft on it, a single body half lying in the water decayed to just bones, rusty ringmail, and a split backpack. We checked over the island the body – human, dead at least 2 years, most of his gear useless. Some spikes, empty potion bottles, boots were in good shape as was the scimitar (tarnished silver hilt with the word “Silverwind” on the blade), belt buckle was enchanted as well. We took off our wet clothes a bit while Damian and Gwyn made a small fire. Zoltan spent some time working on the remains of the raft in order to put it in some semblance of order again.

Our dead guy had a water soaked journal of which there was not much still legible except for the last page. We read it and figured that this was either a hireling or a member of Djohrgahd’s former adventuring group lost and forgotten a decade ago. Once ready we left the isle and used the raft, swimming to the east (we now knew that as per Detheron’s spells) towards the “beach”.

It was crusted with dead fish and some crusted algae, reeking but harmless. Once on the shore we pulled the boat up and looked around – our feeble light giving no indication to the great size of the cave – only our echoing voices and footsteps. We suspected there was something out there but couldn’t see it. Zoltan suggested, “Just blow your whistle Gwyn, and let whatever is out there know we are here”. It was definitely bold and the dwarf did so – the shrill silver sound echoing through the cave.

And they came. Three, then a fourth, dark creatures came and Damian was telling us where they were – the baddies staying just outside visible range. They were cool, the same temperate as the surrounding cave so infravision was useless as Gwyn found out standing just outside the light range bow in hand. He was attacked and staggered back holding his chest and yelling warning.

10’ tall, rubbery green and black skin, floppy almost boneless features, needle-like teeth, two of them assaulted us immediately, Zoltan losing his sling in the dark and Gwyn seeing his hydra spear although badly wounding one – the creature all 750 lbs ran PAST him into the water and then healed the wounds almost immediately. Water trolls, scrags. Capable of healing almost instantly if made wet. And we were fighting them on the edge of an underground lake.

Zoltan was bull rushed and driven into the water, the gypsy trying to break free and get around. Arrows and swords flew but the wounds were healed very quickly. Coruth’tae used a Hypnotism spell to convince one of the scrags to “take a swim” – and it did so – swimming further into the water! The rest of us fought a defensive retreat away from the shore line and into the cave proper.

A third one, bigger, over half a ton, decidedly female and a glint of genius in her beady black eyes watched the group from the limit of our light range, hands on haunches. Olthar tried to speak to her, but she either didn’t understand the wood elf or deigned to not answer. A fourth one came out, approaching us with a large bag in one hand. The one from the water emerged healed now and ran at us, running over caltrops while doing so, allowing us to get a good series of blows against it. It grew weaker and eventually fell but not before wounding a good number of the group.

The female scrag laughed at us and turned back walking into the water and away. We tried to skewer the scrag with the bag and the druid got lucky piercing it – it was filled with water. It grew wroth at that and hit the druid a few times hard, biting him deeply. We plied our efforts and in short order the 2nd scrag was dispatched. Gwyn doused the two of them with oil and set them ablaze while the group looked around more.

Just north of us was a depression in the stone floor filled with some oily skuzzy looking water. Damian went to stick his hand in and was immediately beset with lamprey like leeches attaching to his glove. He peeled off the garment and it fell back in the pool. Ok – don’t touch the pool. Beyond the pool to the north was the cave wall and some sort of depression. We looked it over and both Zoltan and Olthar fanned out to the extreme right and left to listen for any other scrags (or anything else).

Along the north wall just past the pool was a natural depression in the rock the scrags was using as a larder/pantry. An efflusivant mass of rotting fish, decaying flesh, moldy algae and slurry-like vegetation was stacked across the floor and on low stone shelves. The reek was like nothing ever scented before. But Damian thought he saw something in the back of the larder and opted to run in. Detheron thought it wasn’t a good idea but the headstrong paladin covered his face with his cloak and held his breath and ran in.

In four steps he collapsed to his knees, vomiting his guts out, overcome by the reek and stench and knocked out. The group stood outside the depression, none of them daring to chance the horrendous stink. Eventually it was decided on Gwyn using his grappling hook and a few tosses got it around the heavily armored paladin. It took two of them to pull him out over the slurry like oily floor only once he was free did they note that in their yanking had actually sunk the grapple into his shoulder near his neck. Detheron had to pull it free after soaking the paladin with all his water to wash off the filth and it wasn’t until he was mostly finished in patching up his shoulder that Damian regained consciousness.

He told us that before he passed out, in the back of the depression, was a drow with what seemed to be two long silvered swords in his waist. Zoltan took a look and sure enough, the keen eyed gypsy backed up Damian’s claim. Detheron wanted nothing to do with it and suggested we just move on, but the greed of the group took over and they wanted the silvered swords. But no was going to go back in (although Damian offered to – getting shot down).

We settled on a plan where we used Arnog’s 20’ length of entangling rope attached to regular rope and had the entire thing tossed in where it roped around the dead drow. Damian offered to pull the body out and the rest of the group all moved FAR away to not be near while this went on. The paladin pulled slowly, muscle and flesh sloughing off the bloated corpse, but it did come free. He then reached down and grabbed the swords – and got nailed with rot grubs.

The hateful creatures dug through his glove and burrowed into his flesh, two of them making their way in. He took out his knife and stabbed himself in the wrist trying to kill them while he was dancing around and yelling for help. He got lucky while wounding himself and did manage to kill one of them, but the other had come up to his bicep and he was having a difficult time hitting it. In his mad gyrations he accidentally stomped in the oily puddle – and got two of the lamprey like leech creatures on his feet, flopping about wildly as he was cursing and yelling and shouting.

Arnog grabbed for the leeches and pulled them free while Detheron used quick thinking and was able to cut the other rot grub away before it got too close to Damian’s chest. We healed up with what LITTLE was left, the group strung out and tired (it’s been a long day since seeing Jarul and then killing Yasmina, stealing a boat, sailing and pedaling, sinking dwarves, dropping down here, more water adventures, scrags, and finally this) and debated where we were going to try and hole up next.

According to Zoltan and Olthar, along the northern wall there were three potential caves - one was water logged and most likely where the bigger female scrag had gone, one was dry, and a third was wide but had some sort of troll sounds faintly coming down it. There might be other places but we have no idea how big this cavern is and maybe more exploring at this point when we are so light on resources isn't a good idea.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Meet 77, Adv 8, 9/26/09

Sometimes it's nice to change things up and introduce a new way of running chases/combat/adventuring to the group - as I had done this meeting. Wanted a boat chase across the sea with 3 distant dwarven vessels harrying the party as they made a made dash and run for the opposite shore.

And my players took to this very well, and then immediately took apart what "framework" I had around the encounter and looked for loopholes and exploits - and I couldn't have been happier. I WANT my players to feel challenged and to think outside the box. I don't have an adversarial relationship with my players (it's been over a decade and a half since I was a "killer DM") and the goal is for everyone to have fun at the table.

Fizzstone was there for bursts of speed and to triple the range of the harpoon - simple enough, it gets wet it spews air concentratedly for a full minute - the more you use, the bigger the explosion of compressed air. My players thought well and found ways to use the chase to their advantage: Turning the harpoon gun around (instead of a 180 degree arc), sleet storm spells over enemy open footlockers, lightning bolts (turning to ball lightning) under the water, using a Run spell to negate the exhaustion rolls on 2 of the characters, the dried fungus was VERY flammable, using their own bows, hell - even a FLAMING sphere in the middle of the other boats!

So what happened was they dominated the underground sea and took out all 3 enemy boats, and then neutralized the flying mage (who had sent the group running for their life 1 adventure earlier) and had done terrible damage to the 4th and final boat. However, the same benefits they had gotten by closing with the enemy vessels and using their large gamut of spells and skills also was used against them in this manner: flaming arrows and a devastating Charm Person spell on a fighter type - not known for their Will saves.

So this brings them to what I call the 4th level of Dargan's Folly, the Catacombs. A truly fun old-school dungeon crawl that will gear up the party, test their characters as players - not as skill checks, get some xp and levels under their belt, and answer some questions that have come up before they leave the underground at long last and return to the sunlit world and the "normal" thread of the adventure.

Write up follows:

We went in force to talk to Grix, checking over our supplies and equipment one last time. Damian was loathe to speak to the goblin Burghermeister, but once convinced it was our only choice, relented. On the way there was a large gathering of goblins gathered around a thirty count of acolytes performing some ablation to Odin, the All-Father, near the statue of the same god. The party could have gone through the crowd but feeling that it was not a smart idea were planning out other ways to get where they needed to. Cutting through back alleys was dropped and eventually it was decided to skirt the crowd and stay north near the Spider Paddocks.

The reek of arachnids was heavy and redolent but the group stayed outside the press of greenskins and made their way to Goblin Row. At the manor house they entered and went right to Grix’s office. A pair of goblins stood guard and one of them was willing to announce the party for 10 crowns. Asking the other one, he just did so, which had the two goblins fighting; even more so once a golden coin was tossed to the friendlier of the two.

Grix was willing to talk and told us most of what we had learned from Jarul. The name of the vessel was the Drooling Queen and that Yikzarch didn’t want Kashtir to send anymore of his Duergar over here. The group needed to leave and leave soon. We found out the name of the contact across the sea at the northern tip of the Outsider’s island, and the name of the contact at the gnomish encampment beyond there.

Our mission was to take the boat, maneuver our way across the sea, dock at the Duergar village (or park in the open sewer grate if the dock looked unsafe), stay for a few hours and then get smuggled across the larger part of the sea to the Gnomish area. Grix admitted he had told Yasmina about us before but that he was warning the party now – she was gunning for them – coming to his office 3 times in the last same number of hours.

Kashtir sent a patrol of 20 Duergar over here about 5 hours ago; and 2 hours ago, another patrol of 20 heavily armed and magi types came. They were patrolling Byfortvile looking to find what they could of the party. The feeling was that more patrols would come and it would be a matter of time before they would find the party, someone would turn the party over, or Yikzarch would dispatch his own goblin forces to fight the Duergar. That was what the acolytes of Odin were doing; praying to the All-Father for guidance and strength in what they felt was going to be the upcoming battle.

We left Grix’s office and once out at the street discussed quickly our plans. We were going to make it to the 2nd dock where the boat was holed up. Zoltan was made invisible by Coruth’tae, and the gypsy thief took the two wood elves with him, walking point some 60, 70 feet ahead of the rest of the group, relying on his bardic skill to whisper a warning back should it be needed.

We stayed down Goblin Row to the Aquifer and then went near the Ironbeard Stalagmite. It was Soren’s keen eyes that picked up the drow sitting on the stairs some 50’ up the spire’s side. At that moment the rest of the group couldn’t see him, and the drow didn’t know the elves were part of the party. Zoltan, invisible, kept his hands on the elves’ shoulders and told them to keep going, cutting near the vermin farm. He whistled a quick message spell and whispered back to Detheron what he had seen and the stay back and wait.

The other group heard Detheron’s relayance and they stopped near the corner of the Raging Horn for more instructions. But it was Soren who once again spotted the next threat – Yasmina herself in red leather standing in the shadows near the side of the Vermin Farm. Zoltan pushed the elves ahead and once they rounded the corner, the invisible thief snuck up behind the drow, both his blades drawn and poisoned – and stabbed her twice. She succumbed to the sleep poison but it was a quick slash across the throat the finished her off.

He tried to prop her up against the fence and hid behind her, looking to see if the drow on the Stalagmite noticed anything – he didn’t. Meanwhile Gwyn had loaded up his own crossbow with a quarrel, liberally dosed with Wyvern venom. With a touch from Damian and Detheron, each of the holy men calling on their gods to guide the dwarf’s aim, he stepped four paces up, took aim, and shot the drow male off his perch. He fell down the stalagmite, rolling to a stop at the bottom with a crunch and the group swarmed forward quickly.

They picked him up and walked quickly towards where the other three had been – the two elves and Zoltan already dragging Yasmina into a cul-de-sac and were stripping the drowess of her belongings. The two groups rejoined and stripping the bodies of all valuables left them in the dark alley in a lover’s embrace and went quickly down the street toward the docks.

Beyond a boat builders a pair of Ogres were watching the party but said nothing, instead flinging rats at a far wall and dragging the rodents back with cord tied around the vermin’s tail. The group went to the docks where 4 boats were tied up – identifying the Drooling Queen quickly. The boats were made of some sort of huge fungus coated with a clear resin and then affixed with brass plates along the sides and bottom. A set of 4 pedals were situated to power the two screws sticking out the back, a rudder in position for someone in the rear two seats to drive.

Over the screw shafts were brass chambers with a wheel lock. There was a box on the bottom of the boat with a latched top, within was about 30#’s of some sort of pumice looking off white stone. There was also a harpoon gun on the front of the boat with another one of those strange chambers and wheel locks in it. A thin barrel with 10 harpoons was there and two coils of 250’ cabled rope. The other boats seemed similarly outfitted (along with a 4 count of metal pails presumably for bailing should need be), and Detheron who had some boat experience in his youth announced that the vessels were sea worthy. Each boat could handle 10 easily and we loaded on carefully looking the situation over.

Some of the rock was taken and tossed in the water where it hissed and smoked and popped. Gwyn told us it was Fizzstone and was normally used in deep mines for quick oxygen where deep miners would drip water on the rock to supply fresh breathable air. The group then deduced the stone was used to add a burst of speed and power to the screws as well as power the harpoon gun.

It was at that moment that Zoltan noticed a 4 count of Duergar were talking to the two ogres – who were pointing to the docks we were still at. Time to go! We cut the ropes and Damian, Arnog, Detheron, and Gwyn began pedaling. We left the docks and the dwarves ran down yelling for us to come back. Arrows and spells met them and we pedaled away while an alarm was shouted out and Duergar in the distance ran towards the docks.

A couple pounds of the Fizzstone were added to the screw chambers and then closed – and the water seeping in through the shaft chamber hit the stone and a burst of steady speed hit the vessel as it lurched forward and reared a bit out of the water- putting distance between us and the dock and a boatload of pursuing dwarves. Zoltan turned the harpoon gun around and loaded up one, readying the chamber with a bit of Fizzstone. Our 4 pedalers were doing great and the gap between us and the dwarves was widening.

A few harpoons were shot back and forth but Zoltan got a good blow on the other ship as Detheron readied a spell, calling on Frey to let loose a Sleet Storm. The driving cold rain tore over the Duergar boat – hit the Fizzstone locker, and blew the center of the boat sky high. Duergar went flying and the other ship sunk beneath the waves. The party cheered.

As they pedaled on Coruth’tae read off a run spell from his pages and hit both Gwyn and Detheron with it – making the two of them able to pedal onward without growing weary! Good job! Another boat had loaded up and was giving chase and it seemed a 3rd was getting ready to shove off. The space between us was widening now to some 500’ feet and harpoon shots were flying wide. One of them did get lucky and blasted through the side of our vessel and hit Damian. The paladin tore the spear out and handed it up toward Zoltan while Gwyn used his bedroll to plug up the hole in the side of the fungus boat. Olthar began bailing as a little water seeped in.

Detheron readied another Sleet Storm while Zoltan took careful aim and blasted the enemy’s Fizzstone locker! Again cold rain drove down and the blast hit the dwarves – but not enough to sink the other boat.

Arnog and Damian were growing very tired, the constant pedaling wearying them down. They began to miss the beat of the pedals and the party’s boat, over half way now to the island, was not going forward as fast as before. And then the other boat had something happen and a spell was cast – as they Dimension Doored forward some 300 feet – VERY close to the party! Damn!

Zoltan took aim and harpooned the enemy Duergar mage on the other boat while Soren and Olthar shot other unarmored Duergar, assuming them to be mages as well. Missile fire and spell work took the other ship apart and it was in no time before it sunk beneath the waves, ablaze and floundering with the terrified Duergar yelling for help.

At this point the group WANTED to go after the other fungus boat. Using an illusion of the ship having a wall behind it (ridiculous of course, but it WAS supposed to be) they actually turned around and closed the distance to the other ship. Zoltan had turned the harpoon gun back to normal and the group stayed behind the illusion which made it seem like they were much further away. As the distance grew smaller and smaller it wasn’t until it was under 60’ and then the party let loose. Lightning bolts tore through the ship’s bottom, harpoons ripped the side off, crossbows and arrows peppered yelling dwarves – but it was Detheron’s Flaming Sphere that ate the center of the ship and set the dwarves ablaze. It broke apart and sunk and Soren shot a couple of still swimming dwarves – leaving one alive to “continue the legend”.

Turning back around we went on our way unbothered toward the Duergar encampment, the distance closing. At roughly 3-400’ from the docks we noticed a flying Duergar wizard coming closer, at the same time rounding the far end of the island’s hook was another fungus boat, loaded with 10 furiously pedaling and angry looking dark dwarves.

We used what Fizzstone we had and powered the boat forward at the same time that Zoltan took aim with the harpoon gun, landing and incredible shot – ON the flying dwarf! The flying dwarf turned away and was struggling to get back to land while the rest of the group poured it on. Detheron changed his direction and angled not for the docks anymore, but the 15’ wide sewer opening we could see like a culvert under the city.

Harpoon was shot at the boat, ripping into the side of it and opening a fresh rent. Olthar and Soren took to bailing while Zoltan turned the harpoon gun around and readied another bolt. We were getting close and Coruth’tae let fly a lightning bolt under the other dwarven boat, lifting the vessel up but not sinking it. Two of the dwarves fired flaming arrows at our boat and Zoltan harpooned theirs. Their harpoon just missed ours and we pedaled hard when one of the other dwarves cast Charm Person on Arnog – and had the party’s fighter kick in the side of our boat!

Gwyn struggled to knock Arnog out, the fighter knocking large holes in the side of the fungus boat, water rushing in. Detheron tried to Flaming Sphere the other vessel but the dwarves were able to constantly bail the fire and in the subsequent mess, we just missed the side of the culvert, the stone wall tearing sheets of brass off our boat, the fungus growing sodden and soft. The boat shuddered and we slipped forward into some sort of crack in the culvert and the Drooling Queen broke apart and we were sucked down the whirlpool; cold dark water splashing against our faces as we slipped under.