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.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meet 117, Adv 11, 12/11/10

Back to the Dungeon.

The group has had their dungeon crawls in the past so they have an idea on what can work and what can't. This time they shelled out bucks for hirelings - a number of them. Including porters. The idea being that it's worth the extra cost up front as well as the divided up shares will out strip the slogging and slow methodical pace of a protracted dungeon crawl.

So there is 14 of them and they sauntered in, knowing that it was going to be a problem and in room one I had them frittering away hit point from a flanked attack in compressed space by orcs and kobolds with crossbows and flaming oil. As one of the players said, "You know? They had a REALLY great plan!"

Write up follows:

Knowing that we were leaving the next morning, we split up all the jobs we needed to have done, leaving Soren the task of going through the applicants and available help for our foray to Double Dagger Dungeon.

Firstly we wanted Porters – at least two of them, strong backs able and capable of carrying gear and/or treasure. A number of the other adventuring groups in town were also on a hiring spree so we didn’t waste too much time. We snagged Throdi, a 6’8” part time monastic and librarian as well as Galf, a 19 year old scion of a bad encounter between a minor nobleman and a bar wench. Both of them had been porters before and had good recommendations. Pay was 1 noble per day for each, and we would take care of the food, lodgings, defense and healing (although both of them had a club and sword of their own, it was obvious they were not skilled fighters). Soren then had two suits of leather armor purchased, one for each of them.

We wanted a slinger and Agma, a youthful Halfling lass was our best bet. Short and bouncy, she was spoken of highly by others and we hired her for 5 crowns/day plus ¼ share of any treasures found.

For a front line fighter we looked for a heavy footman and the dwarven warrior Thodrek was our choice. Stoic, irresolute, sober, a follower of Thor he was clad in platemail and sported a belt of hammers. He was to get 10 crowns/day plus a ¼ share.

We wanted a guild thief and in this matter Norris cum Owen helped us out. Already had he approached the Cold Iron Thieves Guild so he was on some terms with them. His own membership to Blackshadows’ went well towards finding a specific sort of cutpurse, one who knew his way around dungeons, locks, and traps. In this we found ourselves with Cadassial. Middle aged and family oriented, he was a consummate professional interested in the work, not in the “stabbing and swagging” as certain other thieves were known to be. We dickered a bit on his rate but settled on 80 crowns per week plus a ½ share or any treasure found.

As a party we felt we were magic light and wanted a wizard to round out our ranks. Knowing that most wizards won’t just hire on, we decided to offer a full membership to our group and Soren had interviewed a couple eventually getting Aghmar Arrowmaker. A specialist mage who started his career as a bowyer/Fletcher and then eventually learning the wizardly arts, this 34 year old mage and archer had the right credentials as well as background. And to boot, he was not a fireball and magic missile mage which was something the group was afraid of. He signed on (at least for this adventure) and was not given a signing bonus but was happy to know he was to be trusted with a full share.

It was mid afternoon when the group was finishing up their purchases (casks of oil, 10’ poles, potions of healing, food, bedrolls, spikes, everything!!) and the feeling was we were setting ourselves up for a problem. Primarily regarding the porters. We went over our worries as a group and the matter was boiled down to hiring shieldbearers or not. Beren and Gwyn were for it, Gustav against it, and Norris and Soren were swaying back and forth. We spoke with Dumethian Dracowulf who said he would find quality people for us and in no time came to us with two.

Soren and Beren interviewed them and we hired on both of them. Malak was a half-orc female warrior who worked as a smith in town when not guarding or hired. She was not a good looking woman nor a good looking orc, but she was more than capable and those that did comment on her actions before had told Dumethian of her skill and almost limitless endurance for pain and punishment. We hired her at 10 crowns/day with also a ¼ share of treasure found coming to her.

The last was Jerold, a former veteran of the elder Sedarian Guard. Diligent, able, militaristic, he was also well regarded and well received. We signed him for 20 crowns/day and ¼ share.

This brought our group now numbering to 14:

Soren aka Gunwing, Level 6 Woodelven Ranger
“Digger”, Frey-touched Ranger friend of Soren 135 lb. Dire Wolverine
Brother Beren, Level 6 Human Priest of Tyr
Gwyn aka Steele, Level 7 Dwarven Fighter
Gustav, Level 7 Half Ogre Fighter
Norris aka Owen, Level 6 Halfelven Bard
Aghmar, Level 2 and Level 4 Human Fighter/Wizard
Cadassial, Level 4 Human Thief
Jerold, Level 6 Human Warrior Shieldbearer
Malak, Level 5 Halforc Warrior Shieldbearer
Thodrek, Level 4 Dwarven Warrior Heavy Footman
Agma, Level 4 Halfling Warrior Slinger
Throdi, Level 5 Human Commoner Porter
Galf, Level 3 Human Commoner Porter

This also meant that we had a daily cost of 45 crowns, 2 nobles to pay our hired henchmen and an additional 80 crown weekly cost. Plus we had to feed and lodge at least 2 of them and we needed to also divide our findings by the 5 members of the party, plus one for Aghmar, plus all the fractions making the split into 7 ½ shares.

We signed off on all the contracts, made our deals and agreements, made sure our wagon and two horses were ready for the morrow and also contracted with the Teamsters Guild to rent another cart and two horses that we would take with us to Ponyboro and leave there (to help transport everyone). And at that point we went to sleep.

The next day was warm and sunny and we left Cymbarton early in an effort to arrive at Ponyboro before too late. The trip was pleasant and the party and our hirelings talked during the trip, sharing stories and getting to know one another. We had paid our people as promised and the was after 7 PM on the 10th that we arrived at Ponyboro. We established rooms at the Rampant Griffin, getting 4 rooms with 4 beds each, paying not only for ourselves but all our help. Food was plentiful and drink flowed and the party was in high spirits.

We met with Lord Artis Daernhorse and arranged to drop off not only the Teamster’s cart and horses but also ours and to make sure the animals were stabled, fed, watered, and exercised. We checked over the map and spoke to a number of the local rangers and woodsmen, learning that Malak’s Peak (as mentioned on the map) was a rocky faced hill some 2500 feet in height that had an outcropping of stone near the summit that looked like a bear’s face – easy to spot if you knew what you were looking for. However it was 16 hours give or take from Ponyboro by caravan and that meant that we would have to find it at night. We hired some of the locals to drive the wagons and us to Malak’s Peak and then take our horses and carts back to Ponyboro.

We slept well and in the morning, braving the warm rainy day, we saddled up and left Ponyboro behind. It wasn’t until after 10 PM that we arrived at what the guides had declared was Malak’s Peak. Old camp signs abounded and we made due with what dry wood we could scrounge and set up watches, the party getting a good night’s sleep.

The following morning on Workmonth the 12th we bid the teamsters farewell, broke our fast and readied ourselves, gathered all our belongings and started off, Soren finding within a few minutes the drag trail as mentioned on the map. We hoisted our gear and set off into the wilds of the Dusty Mountains.

Most of the hills and peaks in this area ranged between 15 and 25 hundred feet in height and the area was a mix of moss, scrub brush, and dwarf pine. The trail meandered northward for roughly and hour or more before turning eastward. We had heard that this area was known to sport trolls so the decision to stay on whatever trails had been blazed before was decided upon.

We stayed eastward until the trail climbed between two hills and looked down on a valley with a oval shaped lake some 1/3 mile at its widest set in the middle, the entire vale covered in tall pines. The map marked it as Crispani’s Vale and we were going to go down into the vale and near the water when Soren opted that we avoid that. If Trolls were known to be in the area then going down there might bring us in line with trolls (since it was a natural watering spot). Gwyn chimed in and said that 2 years ago the Sundered Chains had fought trolls here so we decided to stay on the southern edge of the tree line and work our way far around the valley.

It was another hour but we made our way safely past and continued on. It was after 11:30 when we came to what was obviously Double Dagger Hills. The trail curved northward and we beheld a 2100 foot tall peak that looked like it had been cloven in two by some gigantic axe centuries ago. The cleft ran the entire length of the mountain and was 300’ wide at the top narrowing to 50’ at the shadowy base. And there was nothing growing there, nothing at all. We were unnerved but spent a few minutes looking it over. No obvious ambushes were above and Gwyn and Thodrek checked out the stonework, saying that any potential avalanches had already occurred in the past.

We entered the cleft and started walking north, looking for any dungeon, entrance, or anything of interest. It was a bit over half way through that we spied something out of the ordinary. A pile of stones some 20’ tall, 20’, wide, and 70’ deep stuck out from the eastern wall. Cadassial and Norris checked it out, eventually daring to get closer and up top. There was a kobold clan marking of stones to warn off others but the rocks were arranged in a way to allow easy climbing and up top was a hole 15’ wide that went down and to the east into the roots of the mountain.

The party looked over the rest of the cleft just in case and at 12:15 on Workmonth the 12th they climbed down into the darkness. Brother Beren’s light loadstone was passed up to Cadassial and affixed to his buckler, the thief and Norris taking the front. Behind came Gustav the half ogre and next in line were Thodrek and Gwyn, the two dwarves at the ready. Soren, Digger, and Agma followed next, missile weapons ready and then came Brother Beren with a hooded lantern lit and Aghmar Arrowmaker, the mage looking carefully about. Beyond these two were the two porters Galf and Throdi and finally bringing up the rear were the shield bearers Malak and Jerold.

The stairs went further and further down into the side of the mountain until the daylight from above was only a dim filter over 60’ below the surface. The steps ended 7 feet or so ABOVE a squared of 12’ x 12’ room – with a single heavy stone door set in the middle of each wall. Each door closed. Being as it was only 7’ down, Cadassial and Norris dangled from the bottom step and dropped into the room quietly. Gustav moved back and allowed Thodrek and Gwyn to make their way to the front, the two dwarves also dropping into the room the check out the stone work and help Cadassial look for traps.

It was while they were searching that the thief muttered something and glanced up – and the door to the north was torn open and orcs, over a dozen slavering 6’ tall green skinned orcs were there with light crossbows loaded and pointing at the party. The leader armed with a short sword snarled “FIRE” and the tusked porcines drew bead on the group.

Cadassial, not surprised into torpor, took one look at what was coming and Norris was yelling at the thief, to “Run! Get the hell out of here!” and Cadassial did. Throwing himself at Gwyn he clambered up the dwarf’s body and hurled himself upward just as the orcs' crossbows twanged. Missiles plinked off Gwyn, Thodrek, and Norris, most of them turned aside by either magic, steel, or skill. A few hit deep but not enough to cause more than a few grunts of surprise. Thodrek was completely shocked at the attack but Gwyn was not. The dwarven fighter whipped his Staff of Fire from his back, slapped the base against the ground to light the top, and whipped it overhead sending a 15’ long cone of burning oil into the tightly packed orcs. The leaders ducked but those behind were unable to get out of the way and their greasy skin was set ablaze.

Gustav took a look at the chaos below and leapt into the room, bowling down the lead orcs from entering the smaller chamber and then lifted up the first one, his muscles bulging, and hurled him backward into the chamber to knock down other crossbow wielding foes! Huzzah.

It was a tight shot and fit but Soren took aim and fired at an angle into the orc chamber, striking one of them lightly twice with his arrows but not enough damage to fell him. It was then Agma who wanted to help out and she whipped a stone overhead and let fly – fumbling! Her sling strap slipped from her wrist and the sling whizzed into the room below and struck Gustav in the skull! She was shocked, Soren was shocked…Gustav was dumbfounded!

It was as the orcs were readying a second volley that Norris noticed the door under the party’s feet quivering and it ripped open – showing almost two dozen kobolds…the first five armed with flaming oil that they hocked back and let fly. Burning oil rained around Thodrek, Gwyn, and Gustav, setting the three of them on fire. They were screaming in pain and other kobolds were passing new oil up and candles were being readied to light the next volley. And in the back of the room three kobold leaders were standing on boxes and they fired light crossbows at the party! Missiles strafed the group from both entrances now as the orcs were able to bring almost 9 of their own crossbows to bear while others drew swords and attempted to engage the surprised Gustav. The party was in trouble.

Wanting to redeem herself, Agma took one of her flasks of oil, and using Cadassial as an anchor flipped herself upside down and over, hurling a flask into the kobold room and splattering it against the first two in the door before using her momentum to pendulum herself up and out of the room. It was right after that that Norris snarled out a quick verse and fired a powerful fear spell into the kobold chamber and the organized dog faced lizardmen suddenly found themselves terrified as over half of them dropped their oil flasks, crossbows…and candles in a mad dash to run into the back corner of the chamber.

Fire WHOOSHED up and consumed at least 4 of the kobolds bringing the possible active combatants down to 7.

Gwyn shoved Gustav forward and into the orc room, the dwarf using his flaming staff to set more of the orcs on fire and upset any more crossbow firing. Gustav grabbed another orc and hurled him backwards, knocking 3 others down. “Get out of the middle room!” Gwyn hollered, expecting one of the other 2 doors to open and more combatants to hurl and fire stuff at the group. Soren picked off the closest orc with a well placed shot and Thodrek and Norris hustled into the kobold chamber, taking more stabs and plinks for their efforts. Soren shouted for Digger to attack and the wolverine leapt down and joined Gwyn and Gustav against the orcs. Half the party was very wounded by this time, suffering wildly and either on fire, smoldering, or covering in quarrel tracks and furrows.

But they had finally achieved what their strength was and that was close quarter fighting. Gustav tore his greatsword free and in two passes disarmed his first foe and then hew his skull in twain, cutting the orc across the middle of his head and separating it there. He then plowed into the second one and stove his chest in before trading 6 ringing blows with the 3rd frantic foe. Gwyn backed up and set another group of 4 orcs on fire, the heat from his Staff of Fire consuming three of them, killing them instantly. Digger ripped the foot off one of the orcs, throwing the appendage behind him and worrying the bleeding foe with his claws and teeth.

Thodrek took his anger out on the lead kobold and it was with some interest that we realized that using his battle hammer – Every time the angry dwarf would hit, he was guaranteed to do 7 hit points of damage. 7 damage…against the kobolds with 3 hit points each. We heard a snarling dwarf shout of “Thor!”, then a went THWOCKING sound, a pause, and then Thodrek walking to the next one shouting, “Thor!” once again.

In no time the battle was brought to an end and Norris netted the bulk of the feared kobolds, 9 in total. Gwyn, Thodrek, and Norris all looked at one another and said, “How many will we need to really answer questions?” and the bard said, “Three.” So the 2 dwarves and the half elf proceeded to beat all but 3 of the netted kobolds to death before the rest of the party could come down and either stop them or make and opinion otherwise.

We went through the dead and got what little riches and booty they had – more interested in getting quarrels and oil from them to replenish our stores. The three kobolds were bound and in our searching we also uncovered two keys – one from each room – each one single sided, made of brass, and keyed alike – so it was to open the same or similar lock.

The 4 main members who had been in the battle were badly hurt (Gustav having over 60 points of damage) and healing was done and dispensed. Meanwhile questions were given to the kobolds and only one of them spoke orcish (no one spoke kobold) so a common language was shared and we asked information. The kobold was from a clan K’Sisithak and along with the Serrated Teeth clan of orcs and goblins, lived here. Their main living area was lower and the part was in trouble. As for other things on this level the door south was to a treasure area and beyond the last door it led eventually to the steps down but also through the orc area where they had some pet rats.

The group checked out the south door (not trapped or locked) and opened it – it was a decent chamber filled with furs and bits of shiny rocks and some kobold food stuffs and three large metal urns riveted to the floor. Norris told the kobold to open it, he did, and then he stiffened and fell over and two darts fired from below the urn and struck him, killing him. Trap! Cadassial and Norris used 10’ poles to trigger the last two urns and the party went in and took out over a thousand silver nobles and almost 500 luckies. The group was pleased with the haul and we did some math realized that we had now pretty much recouped the original outlay costs for hiring the henchmen. We took the treasure and Cadassial was asked to reload the traps and change the angle of the darts so they would strike someone standing further away (like a kobold that knows about the trap!). As for the last two kobolds we did not know what to do with them and leaving them was not an option. So we killed them for the bounty and took their ears.

At this point we reformed into our marching order approached the 4th door and at 1:45 PM on Workmonth the 12th we readied ourselves to open the eastern portal.

1 comment:

Specialist290 said...

Yo Vanadorn!

Not sure if you remember me from the heady days of "Pax Romana," but I'm glad to see you're still writing. The stories are compelling as always :) Sounds like you've got a pretty decent group together, too. I've never played much D&D, but it certainly wasn't for want of interest.

Keep up the good work!