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.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Meet 121, Adv 11, 1/22/11


Our long time friend came back after a year off more than ready to play again. Normally I would hesitate to "drop" a character in and do it in such an obvious way, but it's been a long time since I've done it and sure enough, it was worth it. So there was an enigmatic wizard guy willing to teleport Detheron and his two fighter-type companions to where "gwyn" was to help out. Cost 500 crowns and was a one way journey -and voila - we now have a 16 person party!!

What this means also though is that certain things planned for the group are less of a problem than originally expected - and the one who came back was a powerful 7th level druid.

Once they get past all the "animals" I think their feeling of "easy" will fade rapidly.

Write up follows:

Brother Beren finished a quick prayer and his last heal sloughed most of the dead skin from Gwyn’s form. It was at that point we heard a strange cry of trumpets and then a blast of rainbow filled the room and with a BAMPF and an outrushing of air, three figures slammed to the dungeon floor with a trio of groans and stood up slowly.

Two were clad in platemail and sported a menagerie of weapons and gear, the last was wearing antler designed leather armor and clutched a darkwood staff in his left hand, eyes looking around wildly as we took in the dim confined of the ogre chamber. He settled on Gwyn and Beren, and then broke into a grin. “Gwynhuwyver?”

The dwarf looked over the other man and smiled into his beard in return, “Detheron?” One of the two men stepped in front of the druid but Detheron explained that Gwyn was a friend and the one they had come to help/rescue. Introductions were given (Rahyk and Guyus were the fighter and paladin with Detheron) and then we heard a brief tale from our druidic friend as to what happened.

Detheron eventually had gone to Principia and gotten the unicorn head, replaced the horn, and Goloriana’s sister was reborn. There was a semi-drugged girl there that was Vanir’s daughter. The unicorn’s sister said the girl was innocent and not wanting to leave her there, Detheron took her away and back to Orihalcus, hiding her with Deidra at the Orhpanage. He spoke with Sir Walter Slaine, learned about Karis’ break with the party and his leaving. He then went to find the party and upon getting to Eider learned that the group was not there anymore. Trail led to Cymbarton. Before leaving he rehooked up with Zoltan who filled in much of the party’s recent adventures and helped Detheron find two new companions to travel with: Rahyk and Guyus.

At Cymbarton he learned the party was looking for something called a Sun Sphere but scrying on Gwyn was not resulting in a clean distinction of where our dwarven companion was now. He was given some cryptic infor on going to Ponyboro and once there met with Lord Daernhorse who told us that yesterday Gwyn and a large party had gone off to find Double Dagger Dungeon in the Dusty Moutnains. The same guides who brought them out before took them to Malak’s Peak and from here Detheron, Rahyk and Guyus followed the druid’s memories to Fulgore Keep.

The Keep was still being used as a meeting ground from smugglers but as for the party – not there. Then some bandit came in, claiming he was a leader of some group that had gotten wasted by an adventuring party and he was let go. On hearing the description of the group Detheron felt it was his friends and wanted to go and save them/help out. The bandit named Canian would not reveal the dungeon entrance and just before getting totally pissed, a wild haired and drugged up stinking figure waddled forward and asked for 500 crowns to help out and send Detheron to his friend. The money was paid and a teleport spell followed and here the druid, fighter, and paladin now were sent here.

The group rejoined the main party and introductions were given all across the board. Explanation of where we were was given and the group began digging through the dead ogres and troglodytes to find what treasure they could find. During this time there was talk about the door the trogs had run through which was revealed to be slightly open as if jammed like that. Cadassial was nominated to step forward and check it out, the thief returning shortly to let us know it was covered with a thick mud about 4’ mark and lower which is what made it difficult to close. There were some muddy prints on this side of the door. No obvious traps but there was the sound of water on the other side – faint trickling.

Rahyk went next, taking one of the loose dozen or so obsidian headed harpoons from the floor, pushing the heavy stone portal open. At that point, he took out his small mirror and used it to try and look in the next chamber. It was a wide hall that opened up to a decent sized chamber with a glowing blue floor. At that point a harpoon was thrown, followed by another one. He backed away quick and we heard a strange chanting inside followed by a voice telling us to leave – it was holy ground.

We said we didn’t want to enter just looking for the stairs. Voice said they would willingly die to protect the holy ground. Then it was our gods are better than your gods conversation. Eventually the trogs inside said there were stairs past the ogres and we could/should go there.

Detheron called out a short detect magic spell and revealed that one of the harpoons was glowing and that there was some sort of big magic on the other side of the wall. Gwyn took the magic harpoon and we left the trog area, moving north toward the ogre room.

Once in the ogre room we gave the room a complete once over, finding nothing else of interest except that the ogre’s cooking area with the 80 gallon cauldron was heated up by long log like deposits of compressed coal. He doused them under the soup pot and then dumped the pot over them to choke out the oxygen. Cadassial was once more nominated to check out the next door out of here and after giving it a once over and two thumbs up for issues and trap, Norris opened it and we looked beyond. An iron spike was driven under the door to the hall, making any attempt to follow us that much more difficult.

The corridor was choked with refuse and garbage from busted glass and shattered bits of wood and stone. A path roughly 3’ wide was clear up the middle as it wound its way north and then turned to the east. The bard worked his way through until he was sure that it continued on to some open space. Then he returned and we spoke about the way ahead.

Marching order was reset, this time introducing Thodrek, Rahky, Guyus, and Gwyn as the forerunners. We meandered our way along until just shy of the next room there was some heated discussion in the floor. It was during this time that our voices began raising and before we knew it, something began running down the hall at us. Rotting forms with sharp claws and canine teeth, loping and leaping and gibbering. Ghouls.

As they struck at us their claws and bites could not find purchase under the armor and shields of our fighters. A few tried to approach Guyus but the Paladin’s faith was so strong the ghouls could not touch him. Some tried to jump over the party but landed cruelly on Rahyk and Gwyn’s upraised spears. And then Brother Beren called out to Tyr and a shaft of hot white light blossomed forth and obliterated the lead 3 ghouls. It was a matter of moments after that when Rahyk plied spear to ghoul and took out the last of them.

We wiped the gore from us and then pressed on. The refuse and trash continued in here but became more sparse. A door was along the north eastern corner a single lock on it, the lock picked and forced open by an iron spike. Cadassial and Norris once more checked out the portal and were convinced it was clear of issues. The door opened, showing stairs heading down.

The party continued on, Thodrek and Guyus in the front, Gwyn and Rahyk following. It was when the paladin and dwarf stepped on one of the steps near the top that they heard it go “click”. Looking at one another…they fell forward as the stairs ran flat, forming a slick and polished ramp. Gwyn managed to snag the edge of the door frame but Rahyk just missed it by a few inches – and then Norris made to grab Rahyk. And Norris lost his grip and started to slide so Detheron tried to help but got tangled up and HE went down as well!.

It was just shy of the bottom that Thodrek and Guyus triggered a second pressure plate and a triple row of iron shaft set at a 30 degree angle snapped up – and the paladin and dwarf plowed into the punji stakes, Thodrek taking an almost critical amount of damage. And then Rahyk and Detheron and Norris hit, the bard barely able to jump over the mass of bodies and taking only some bumps for his efforts but the druid and fighter taking more damage while also hitting and hurting the dwarf and paladin.

Brother Beren helped Gwyn out of the hole and some calls were given back and forth – asserting that some of the group was hurt but no one was dead – and the stairs were a trap, there was no way to the 6th level. Damned trogs lied to us! Detheron helped to extricate those below while Norris looked around – spotting a lever on the back wall in the down position. The party hollered at him not to touch it. Beren unrolled the 50’ rope ladder we were carrying and with Gwyn and Soren’s aid, drove a spike into the floor and fastened the ladder there.

Thodrek was pretty bad off and Detheron cast a heal on him, bringing the fighter back up to better spirits. Norris was told under no uncertain terms NOT to touch the lever, the bard declaring that the lever existed – and it existed so it could be pulled. The party pulled themselves out of the stairs – and when they got near the top of the stair, saw ANOTHER lever there, this one in the upright position and visible where it was not visible before.

Norris grabbed his lever, and strove to push it up…until finally it snapped into place.

And dropped the ceiling on top of him.

Buried under half a metric ton of shattered rock and fallen stone, we were a bit stunned at the turn of events. Detheron and Rahyk worked on getting the bard out from under the rubble while Brother Beren was working on Thodrek’s many wounds with bandages and poultices. Stone by stone, the mass of rubble was moved away while Norris did his best to remain alert under the rock.

And then we heard someone try to force their way past the door to the ogre room. Banging and banging…and then it stopped for a minute or two – and then resumed MUCH louder and forceful. Damn it – something was coming.

We drew up into the hall, Guyus and Gwyn taking point with Malak and Jerold – then every missile using person behind. The door was forced open and we heard movement. Something got closer and then we saw a trog head peer around and back up. Some strange chanting followed and then the same voice we talked to before shouted out, “You not dead yet? We come to loot your dead bodies before you stand up like zombies!”

We argued back and forth. They lied. Trogs admitted it. If ogres didn’t kill us, ghouls or trap would have. We told them we would get them. They said their god was better than ours. Rahyk left Detheron to finish getting Norris out, the fighter running up the sloping steps to help out the party (oh, and that other lever at the top of the steps? It reset the slope back into steps again).

The trog said the breath of pestilence was coming for us and coming now – and then some chanting and sickly greenish fumes came around the corner, slithered across the floor, and headed towards the group. Do we back up? Some sort of spell? What do we do? The fighter soaked his shirt with spirits, wrapped it around his face, and then walked into the fumes.

And no, it wasn’t poisonous.

We charged through the trick and attacked the trogs who hurled harpoons at us and tried to take us down. There was 7 of them in the hall and one of them was obviously the shaman. Spells were tossed back and forth and then Gwyn went to throw his harpoon, the magic one we grabbed before, at one of the distant trogs.

And he turned around for some inexplicable reason and hurled it point blank at Aghmar the mage. Aghmar screamed in pain and was in shock…so was Gwyn and so was the group! Malak helped pull the harpoon out and the mage grew angered at the dwarf who did sheepishly apologize and said the spear MADE him turn and throw it at his friend. Aghmar called out some sort of burning man spell and sent it after the last of the trogs – causing them to turn and run in fear.

Guyus gave chase, cutting one down and then hurling his sword at the shaman before he could dodge through the door. Rahyk followed right behind and then Gwyn came last. The dwarf kicked out at the shaman, buckling the trog’s knee sideways and dropping him. Some cord was produced and the trog was trussed up. We questioned him then, threatening him with serious bodily harm if he did not tell us what we wanted to know. There was a set of stairs through the beast section and the place they had come from holy ground. During all this Detheron cast a dispel magic on the harpoon Malak was carrying and once the cursed effect was temporarily negated, Guyus beat it a few times until it snapped.

Satisfied for now, we shoved him under the overturned cauldron and regrouped before heading towards the trogs’ chamber.

The mud coated door was still partially opened and we pushed it all the way. A short hall ran north to a sizeable natural grotto with a 30’ glowing blue oval pond in the middle about 4’ deep at the center and the bottom covered with numerous small white rocks. Along the walls were fanciful designs and depictions of some colossal lizardlike being with a number of kneeling trogs at its feet. There was an altar near the south corner that gave most of the party a faint shudder on being near. Detheron called out another Detect magic spell and the entire pool glowed red as well as a small aura near the altar. Guyus tried to detect evil but only got a latent sensation near the altar, the pool was normal.

We debated on what to do for a few minutes until the druid stuck his hand down into the pool to gather up a handful of rocks on the bottom. At that point all his wounds healed and he felt healed! Thodrek volunteered to go next, the dwarf also healing. One by one the rest of the party stuck their hands in the pool, watching as their wounds and even debilitating effects from the trog’s stink glands faded away. Only Guyus, Rahyk, and Gwyn avoided touching the water’s surface, sure that something was going to go wrong.

And it did. When Brother Beren went to stick a flask into the water to fill it after already healing himself, the water had an opposite effect on him, causing terrible sores and bleeding to course up his arm and wounding him for 10 points. He dropped the vial and staggered back and the group realized that touching the water was a one time thing. No one wanted to risk it again after that.

As the group was leaving, Guyus and Brother Beren then went to the altar and after blessing it and dousing it with holy water, started dismantling it, one rock and stick at a time. The group left quickly at this (one of them mentioning, “I don’t mess with the gods”) and as the altar came apart, the pool grew dimmer and dimmer until it finally went dark and the magic in the water faded entirely.

It was after 4 now and we wanted to press on a little bit. With the area of level 5 marked as “Humanoid” now resolved, we went back to the main room and looked at the other 2 choices: Other and Beasts. The trog had mentioned a set of stairs at the Beast section so it was there next. Detheron called to Frey to try and detect animals on the other side of the door – and he felt 2 reptilian beings very close by and a much larger one some 100’ past.

Should we go in with swords drawn? What we settled on was Deth and Soren trying to charm the lizards first and if that failed, the fighters would hack them down. The door was thrown open and we beheld two 14’ long giant lizards with thick muscled maws. The spells were shot and one of the lizards was charmed. That had Rahyk beat the heck out of the 2nd one and the fight ended quickly.

Detheron spoke to the one lizard and learned some of the layout. It had no name, but there was a giant constrictor past here named Chirkus. Beyond that there was eventually a pair of bears. All of these beings had been fed the Animus potion so we were anticipating larger than normal enemies to fight. Our druid accepted the giant lizard as a travelling companion and we readied ourselves to go down and either confront the huge snake – or find a place to rest and do it tomorrow.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meet 120, Adv 11, 1/15/11

A bad night for critical hits.

Sometimes the dice are very much against the party and in this night we had a number of critical hits that rocked the group. Similar to the prior meeting where a double critical knocked Gustav down to "dead", this time I had a series of criticals and fumbles that had the party pinned between ogres and trogs and ogres - and then the dwarf (our 2nd main line fighter) was brained and thrown back for "eating".

Also had some heroics which in my mind trumps "dice" any day of the week.

Write up follows:

We dragged the giant bear into the major alcove area and then went back and did the same with Gustav. Brother Beren and Malak went about bandaging up wounds where able to and Norris aided in some light healing of his own. The hirelings were disturbed over Gustav’s death and there was some talk about leaving and taking the half-ogre’s body out. That plan was quickly squashed as we would have to go back up through Fongar and the orcs, what K’Sisithak kobolds might be in the area, and then also Gandlarg and his orcs on the 2nd level. Thodrek was rather loud that he felt it was wrong to just “leave our companion here in the dirt and under the dungeon and press on. If one of us dies, is that what we have to look forward to as well?”

It took some convincing on Soren’s part to let the group know that we would not be leaving Gustav here and all efforts would be made on taking him out of here on our exit. But we had a mission and that was to get the Sun Sphere on the 7th level and that we would have to make that our priority.

At this point we turned our attention to the bear. Bringing its head was thought to be a good intimidating tactic later on so we used Gustav’s notched greatsword, Ragnarok, (which was fitting) to cleave the beast’s head free – and then did the same with the hands and feet. After that we spent some time skinning the bear and then flensing the layer of fat and meat from the underside of the great skin. While this was going on Norris was taking slabs of bear steak off the animal’s hide and was salting it and cooking goblets of it.

It was just after 12 though (some over 2 plus hours after slaying the bear) that Jerold thought he heard something. He glanced down the hall and spotted two 9’6” lumbering slope jawed ogres wandering this way. He ran back, informed us of what was coming and we were sort of stunned. The air smelled of cooking meat, there was a decapitated bear that was being carved up for food, and we obviously did NOT belong. Time for some lies and glib tongues. J

The ogres came around and wanted to know what we were doing here. They were going to see Fongar to find out, “where the morons were and if the bear had killed them yet.” The group said they were from the bandit group and on their way to Costeval the Fat and they saw the dead bear and dead half-ogre – ergo the half-ogre was the moron and the two of them killed each other. The ogres looked over dead Gustav and said he wasn’t an ogre. Then they looked at his stuff and one of them (the 2 ogres identified themselves as Gyrx and Falan) took Gustav’s war ax, “Pig Splitter”.

They were going to talk to Fongar about “the morons” and the fact that the bear apparently killed them and then was killed by them. Costeval sent them up. Where was Costeval? Somewhere on either 5 or 6. Good the party replied, they wanted to go talk to him. The ogres took some of the bear meat to munch on on the way and then waved at us and got ready to go. During the conversations we did learn that the ogres knew how to get past the bear by dropping a platinum piece in the big bowl by the entrance. If they did so the bear would leave them alone, if they did not, the bear would attack and eat them. Ahhhh, that’s what the bowl was for.

We bid Gyrx and Falan goodbye and once they were out of sight we quickly struck our camp. The fire was doused, bear meat wrapped up and placed in packs. Weapons sheathed, armor donned, torches lit. We dragged Gustav OUT of the alcove and carried him to an area of the bear’s maze off the beaten path and draped the bear’s skin over him. Then knowing that we did not have much time before the ogres would speak with Fongar and learn that we were the morons in question we decided to try to find our way to the 5th level.

It took Soren only a few moments to follow the orge’s trail through the thick brush and we walked through the maze, the ogre’s path eventually intersecting and then joining with the fallen ursine’s. We ended up in a largish antechamber with an alcove place, the walls colored from floor to ceiling in pale ivy vines wrapped about themselves and very thick. A sister stone bowl about the same size as the other one we saw was here, two platinum bars sitting in the bottom of it. We pocketed the metal and then spread out and tried to look for a door or some sort of exit, tearing the vines away from the wall.

In the process of doing so we trigged a simple pit trap, 7’ square and perhaps 9’ deep. It was empty. We also noted that on pulling the vines free, within moments they began to grow and twine about, filling in whatever areas we might have yanked and ripped apart. We did discover a concealed door and opened it, looking in the next chamber.

It was sizeable and sported some simple mining equipment as well as a couple of bags filled with ivy seeds. Soren took about 10 lbs of the seeds while Norris and Cadassial went to the single door out of here – a door with a key hole and an iron key hanging there. It was not trapped and seemed to lead to the 5th level. We experimented with the ivy and it did not grow on the floor, but did grow in the dirt on the main 4th level floor – very swiftly. As for the pit, we dumped some of the ivy seeds in there and watched as the ivy began to grow.

From here we talked about bringing the bear’s head and now changed our mind about taking it along. So we tossed the bear’s head in the pit and watched as it was covered over by growing ivy. As for going to the next level, we opened the door and then held it in place while one of us ran back to the dirt and buried the key, covering it and then dropping more ivy seeds on it. Satisfied now we made our way to the stairs, set up our marching order, and then proceeded down.

It was a short walk to the bottom where we noted the corridor turned back 180 degrees and headed east. We glanced down the corridor as far as the light would shine, noting it was at least a score of paces and kept going. A search of the landing showed only that the western wall was dimpled and scarred repeatedly between 2 and 4 feet in height. Our thoughts meandered as to what and why and one of us suggested that it was reminiscent of the area on the 2nd level where there was a trap of hurling stones against a wall.

This had Cadassial look about carefully and our hired thief discovered a trip wire near the ground. It was anchored on one side and turned along a eye hook before going off down the hall. Step over the wire…or attempt to disarm it? We opted to have him disarm it and it wasn’t much of an effort for Cadassial to earn his pay on this, his 4th found trap/trick/alarm. From here we lined up and walked down carefully – eventually finding 3 crossbows set up, each of them loaded with a single bolt that Gwyn aka Steele told us was poisoned with something. We took the bolts and then pressed on to the next chamber.

Some 15 paces square, 3 doors out. A Copper plaque was along one wall and the language was shifting and hard to read. A short read magic spell revealed it to be: “West humanoids, North other, East beats, Three Four.” We listened to the three doors and north and west were quiet (although west stunk slightly and north had a dank odor to it) while east has some hissing growl in it.

We talked about our options and decided to go to the west door. This was also because we had remembered the two ogres commented they had spoken with Costeval the Fat and since ogres are humanoids – that was most likely. The door was stuck slightly and we pulled it ajar. It had a tendency to close on its own so a spike was plied to keep it ajar. Norris went down the corridor, learning that it was getting fouler the further he went. It paced almost 20 steps and then turned back around again at least the same distance before turning north. That bad odor was stronger the further he went.

The party talked and decided that we would press on. We made sure that Gwyn and Thodrek were in the front while the rest of us fanned out behind in the confines of the corridor. As we crept forward we THOUGHT we heard a shift of something ahead where the corridor turned but could not be sure as it did not repeat itself. The stink grew foul and just when it was the most cloying a rasping cry sounded out and long limbed reptilian creatures boiled out and fell on the party with claws, teeth, and harpoons.

Most of the blows were turned aside by Gwyn and Thodrek the two dwarves beating the monsters back. It was two rows of them, the back rows stabbing with harpoons, the closer ones using claw and teeth. Arrows flashed out and some oil was tossed as well. As soon as able to, Gwyn unlimbered his firestaff and broiled 4 of the beasts. Two survived the flames and ran back into the room the rest were still coming out of.

The problem was that during the fight the monsters were exuding a terrific stench that affected the closest party members, making them ill and weakening them with its strength stealing miasma. A couple of the more experienced party members identified them as troglodytes and Jerold was told to go back to the door we came in from (where the 3 choices were) and spike it closed so we did not get surprised. The shield bearer headed back, the din of battle echoing loudly but on reaching the door with spike and hammer he was dismayed to find the 2 ogres we had run into before, Gyrx and Falan, coming this direction with frowns and growls.

“Hey!” they shouted. “You guys is the morons!” Gyrx took Gustav’s PigSplitter war ax off and Falan held out his iron shod club with a meaty hand, the shouts and cries of battle very loud and strong. Jerold backpedaled to the party, toeing the line with Malak, and called out to the group that ‘Company was coming!’. Party was surrounded with two ogres at our read and at least a dozen trogs at our front.

During the battle we had to shift the middle of the party many times, Brother Beren making his way to towards Gwyn and Thodrek to keep the 2 dwarves fully healed. Arrows fired and swords flashed. But during the fight Soren’s Frostburst bow snagged and the enchanted string snapped! He was pissed and our ranger took out his 2nd bow, filling the air with arrows. Aghmar shot his wand of bats at Falan, 15 of the winged animals slamming into the ogre and then fluttering around his head, disturbing his ability to swing effectively.

The trogs’ reek was still draining strength from the party: Gwyn, Norris, Thodrek, and Digger taking the worst of it. Even weakening they continued to deliver terrible damage. Aghmar gave up his haste potion to Gwyn and the dwarf was suddenly ablaze with movement and speed. Another two trogs were set ablaze and they also ran from the fight back into the room they came from. Norris lost his blade in the fight after getting a harpoon in the chest and the party was making a number of tired and fumbling blunders one after the other. The two ogres were bleeding badly and began roaring and howling, their calls echoing throughout the complex. Another trog fell and the last of them broke and ran back into the room while the group finished off the two troubling ogres with a flurry of cuts and a rain of missile fire.

And then we heard footsteps coming. Lots of them. Gwyn glanced past the pile of 7 dead trogs (4 of them still burning from ignited oil) and down the hall and saw ogres coming., guys, lots of ogres coming. Gwyn was able to understand their language and from what it sounded like, these ogres were responding to Gyrx’s call and wanted to know where the damned trogs were. And then the lead ogre grew close enough and cried out, “Dwarves!” on seeing Thodrek and Gwyn and the other FIVE behind him laughed as they ran closer with eager steps.

Aghmar was able to get close enough to hit Thodrek with his shielding wand and then it was battle time again. The ogres were trying to grab the dwarves and one of them got a grip on Gwyn but his teammates held on tight and the ogre got a punishing crack in his shin for his efforts. In the tight corridor with all the jostling back and forth Soren was hit from behind and his second bow was knocked from his grasp! Damn it! It pulled out his final bow, a battered one he had held onto for some time, strung it swiftly, and fired into the crowd. One of the ogres went down and another was badly hurt. Norris whistled out a fear spell and one of the behemoths ran away with a terrible curse and wail. With two dwarves sporting terrific armor classes standing toe to toe in the tight corridor, bottlenecking the ogres with the rest of the party adding missile support where able to it looked like that we could hold the grounds indefinitely.

And then it happened. Tymora, goddess of luck, apparently had an urgent summoning to attend a horse race in Argosility because a couple of fumbles resulted in Gwyn getting hit from behind, weapons being dropped, and Gwyn losing his footing and getting his helmet slammed by the ogre in front of him and knocking the dwarf out. With a hooting call it snagged Gwyn by the foot and flipped him backwards to another ogre who picked up the dwarf and started running back down the hall, calling out something that only those who spoke ogrish could identify as, “Dwarven Dinner!”

We could not break the jam of bodies blocking us. Digger turned and fired his musk at one of the ogres, making him sick. Brother Beren called out to Tyr and cast sanctuary on himself. At that point he attempted to walk past the battle and the ogres nearest him – could not bring themselves to strike the radiant holyman! Well done.

However the two trogs in the next room with harpoons had no such compunction and one of them was able to overcome the effects of the sanctuary to hurl his harpoon at Brother Beren – striking him and sinking the barbed shaft ALL the way in! Ouch.

One of the ogres blocking the party went down and Thodrek and Norris threw all they had at the remaining ogre who was sadly unharmed and more than ready for them. The two trogs made to run at Brother Beren but only one of them actually had the will to do so (again – sanctuary!). Meanwhile Brother Beren was tearing the barbed spear from his shoulder and bleeding for his efforts.

At this point Gwyn awoke with a glubbering splash – finding himself tossed in a boiling pot, most of his gear torn off. One ogre was trying to hold the dwarf down in the cauldron with a length of wood and another one was in the corner terrified and afraid. Feeling in the burning water for any weapons and finding only a simple hand axe, Gwyn tore it from his belt and leapt out of the cauldron, attacking the ogre with his hasted enhanced assaults. The ogre was shocked and having a difficult time blocking the dwarf’s blows, growing weaker and weaker.

Brother Beren made his way finally past the trog and charged into the darkness towards where Gwyn was taken. The rest of the party hacked and stabbed and plied everything they had at the last ogre eventually knocking him down.

Gwyn finished off the ogre that had tossed him in the pot and Brother Beren came in to rescue him, but instead found Gwyn soaking wet, 2nd degree burns on his body, a bloody axe in his hand, hacked up monster in front of him and a terrified one in the corner. A quick heal had Gwyn feeling a bit better and then it was time to assault the last ogre. The rest of the party finished off the two trogs in the hall and we heard Gwyn and Beren as they wrapped up their attack on the last ogre.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Meet 119, Adv 11, 1/8/11

I remember playing Telengard as a kid and sometimes you would find a scintillating box that would teleport you to any level of the dungeon you wanted to. This way a low level character could dip to a more dangerous area, snag some booty, and then run back to the surface. But the downfall was that you were stuck at a more difficult area without the proper tools to handle it.

Adventuring is all about risks - and there is something to be said for systematically taking out each level room by room and layer by layer - and there is also something to be said for just kicking it all to high gear and slicing through all that and steamrolling ahead.

The party had an opportunity to cut short their investigation of the 2nd level and bypass the 3rd completely. In doing so they did fail to learn certain things that would help them further below - like the 4th level where they ended up - a level that has 1 effective monster on it. And said monster killed the main fighter in the party and brought our 2nd fighter down to 2 hit points. That's 2.

So which way is correct? Both are and neither is - but you have to be able to weather the storms as such as they come and keep your group together.

Write up follows:

After leading the 2 bandits and 3 of the war dogs out of the Double Dagger Dungeon we discussed what we were to do next. Holed up in the room with the 2 ballistas we debated the merits of going after the orcs now or not, do we be aggressive or passive? Friendly or firm? The problem was that after some time we realized that almost an hour had passed and we had not made a decision on what to do. We needed more information.

Norris volunteered to go, activating his ring of shadows and then wandered down the darkened halls to see what was about. The first thing he sadly noticed was that one or two of the dead bandits were missing and there were drag trails and blood smears attesting to the fact that they went down both the corridor towards the giant toads and the other corridor as well.

On looking down towards the giant toads he did note at least 2 of them and 3 (most likely more) orcs in there, feeding their amphibian charges bits of chopped up bandits. Uncomfortable with possibly going that way, he followed the blood trails down the other corridor – eventually spotting 2 orcs guarding a “T” intersection. With this info in hand he wandered back to the party and let the group know what was what.

There was renewed talk of attacking, stinking clouds and fear spells – but the truth was we did not know how many orcs and if there were other passages they could use beyond what we’ve seen. We settled down to just resting and seeing how the next day came and went. Both ballistas were set up closer to the door and our hired thief rigged up one of them to fire should the door open. A spike was jammed under the door to wedge it closed

The group fell asleep and Cadassial took the first watch, eventually hearing orcs coming into the room, some people going upstairs, and then coming back down, and more movement. He passed this on to Gustav who took next watch and finally Soren who took the last one. We heard heavy movement outside the doorway but nothing else. Our ranger did note that someone tested the door on the other side but with the spike in the base, it did not open.

We woke up and there was some studying and praying for our spells. Breakfast was doled out and our porters and hirelings were paid. It was time to decide what to do next when Cadassial was asked to go and check on the door. It was just shy of the door that he noticed small things on the floor, wormlike ½ and inch long, and squirming. Rot Grubs. And they were obviously shoved under the door from the other side.

There were orcs out there, many of them, and they suspected we were here. Gwyn burned the rot grubs away to ash and we got into a conversation with the orcs on the other side. We fell into the idea that we were bandits of Six Pints of Blood and had been with the Maker for the last week – not knowing what was going on. Water had rushed in and we barricaded the door. Orcish speaker, named Gandlarg, was VERY pissed. Claimed that a holy item called the “Eye of Grummash” had been stolen and the young ones on the floor above had been slain. Do we have the eye? Um..what was it/what did it look like?

The orcs informed us that it was a fist sized stone glowing with the holy fury of the one eyed god. Yeah, we though – just like the continual light rock that we took from the treasure chest and put into our lantern. We denied having it and it was at this point that Brother Beren was able to hear some chanting on the other side – chanting from some shaman – chanting like someone calling on their god to help them “locate an object”. Like a continual light rock of Grummash.

Damn it.

Before the spell could fire, Brother Beren grabbed the lantern, ran back towards the Maker’s room, and threw it in there as far as he could, hissing for Gwyn and Thodrek to knock the metal spike holding the door open out of the way. The portal swung closed and relocked from the wizard lock spell and we heard Gandlarg talking with another orc out there convinced that the Eye of Grummash was not here.

He wanted us to come out and talk and we delayed opening the door while taking out the spike, hoping the locate spell would expire. There was talk of speaking with someone called “Costeval the Fat” and reference to someone called Stenthian Manbreaker. We opened the portal and met Gandlarg and his retinue of 11 militant armed and armored orcs. Almost 7’ in height and pushing 280, these orcs were much more of a threat that the ones that had tusseled with us before, and we decided to play it cool – after all, we were bandits and all one big happy family.

Gandlarg led us (with his retinue) to the doorway to the 3rd level where we gave our key to him and he opened the portal for us. A bent wedge was shoved under the door and we were led down some 50 feet or so to a largish chamber. In here were another 8 count of orcs clad in scalemail and sporting a mix of broadswords and throwing spears. Their easy gait and militant nature led us to believe that these foes were more than capable should things go poorly.

Gandlarg and one of the orcs (named Fongar) began talking in their native tongue (something of which only Malak our hireling and Norris could understand) about us. They spoke of the Eye of Grummash, the Maker, the dead K’Sisithak kobolds and orcs slain on the upper level and us. It was a given that we were members of the Six Pints of Blood bandits and that we wanted to have some conversation with Costeval the Fat (on the 5th level). It was here that Norris was able to hear that the being known as Stenthian Manbreaker held the bandits and the Maker in high regard and even if the orcs did not like or trust the humans, we (um..the bandits!) had a right to be here.

We chimed in that we wanted to help find the Eye of Grummash and some song and dance on our part had them to understand that our god told us that it was below. No explanation how this happened or why – just a bald face lie in order for them to open the door down. Gandlarg and his troupe went back upstairs and wished us well while Fongar said he would have to talk with Costeval the Fat to decide what to do next.

The K’Sisithak kobolds here also had some dislike of dwarves and there was talk about selling Gwyn and Thodrek to them but we let that conversation lapse. Fongar came back and said that he spoke with Costeval and that we were not welcome to search any lower. Hmm. The conversation went back and forth for a bit with insults and veiled comments slung about. Fongar stormed off to go get the keys to open the door to the 4th level and we were no longer so sure of what our plans and harsh words had netted for us.

While he was gone Norris tried to get one of the orcs to relay to him what they would be facing and we were told that there was a bear down there that had been fed a number of the Maker’s Animus potions – the same potions that made the Giant toads on the 2nd level. Great a big damned bear. Before we could get any other info Fongar came back and opened the door to the 4th level, motioning us towards it and wishing us luck on our conversation with Costeval the Fat.

Do we fight? Make a break for it? We had little time to decide and eventually our knowledge that the Sun Sphere was what we needed and was on the 7th level – so we went down. Once through the doorway we heard Fongar laughing slightly and the portal closed. Torch lit and the light stone on Cadassial’s buckler, we followed Gustav down the steps, nervous and frantic, expecting the bear to loom up before us. What we didn’t realize was the air was growing a bit warmer and there was smell in the air, the scent of loam and earth and growing things – and we were about 200’ below the ground.

The stairs ended and the corridor doublebacked to the east, the ceiling now about 15’ in height. As we walked down the long passage we found dirt gathering over the stone floor, getting thicker and denser as we walked. And then the passage ended at a very big stone door. Banded in steel and copper, the portal was 6’ wide and 9’ tall and there were a pair of metal locking bars on this side designed to keep the portal closed and protected – from something on the other side.

We checked – the door was not trapped or locked, and we couldn’t hear anything from the other side of it. Eventually we opted on opening it and checking it out. The floor was thick and lush with earth and underbrush and mushrooms, ivy, sticker bushes, etc. The walls and door on the other side showed numerous gouges and scratches as if something huge had tried to get through. We looked around and after a single turn some dozen paces away beheld what appeared to be some sort of the underground maze like complex. And in it somewhere was a big god damned bear.

There was a bowl here, stone, oval shaped, 3’ by 2’, currently empty. Soren looked around and saw that the bear’s prints were here in the recent past and near the bowl as well. The group was quiet and nervous, looking around with exaggerated care. We guessed the bowl was for food and Soren and Gwyn mixed up a mass of Digger’s food as well as 5 doses of the dwarf’s hallucinogenic mushrooms – hoping the bear would eat it and pass out.

Then we couldn’t wait any longer and readied weapons, entering the maze like environs. We decided early on that we would not follow the bear’s path, trying to stay away from it as we made our way through the dungeon. It was while we were passing a large chamber on one side and going over the choice of two possible left turns that the bear charged from behind one of the turn offs and slammed into Malak our shieldbearer – two swipes of the 12’ tall, 1000 lb ursine and our orcish warrior was holding her tower shield with numb arms and trying to keep the blood from flowing down her biceps.

A few arrows and bolts were thrown at the bear but it had turned VERY quickly and ran back the way it came, disappearing around the corner. The party was frantic with everyone yelling to get together, massing into one of the open areas. But as Gustav pointed out quickly this areas had FOUR possible entrances and we were running about without a plan – ripe for another bear attack. Someone pointed out the enclosed room on the other side and even though it was hotly debated for a few seconds on where to go, enough of the party charged across the corridor and settled into the chamber.

Healing was applied swiftly and went over and over (read: argued) about what to do next. There was no ready solution so Gustav took it on his own and stepped into the hall and started shouting and yelling for the bear.

And it came. It hit Gustav hard and the ogre shoved and pushed and worked through the wounds to hold the bear in place. Brother Beren called out to Tyr and imparted a wave of strength into the half-ogre. Norris called out a song of inspiration and Gustav literally shoved as hard as he could, pinning the bear for a few precious seconds against the wall and between his shield. Acid was hurled and arrows shot and Gwyn used his Hydraspear sticking the ursine mightily. Not everyone could attack but we tried. Bit by bit the hit points whittled from the bear but it was slow going.

We hurled oil and it splattered against the bear and Gustav. Aghmar called on a grease spell and it slathered all over the bear’s legs. Jerold was knocked out with a bad trip and smashed his head on the wall. A stonebiter arrow was shot at the bear, plugging it in the head. Norris levitated up high and used his whip to hit the bear in the head and face. And the bear didn’t stop struggling as it tried to both hit Gustav and get away.

And then it pushed free and made to run. Gwyn tackled the bear’s back leg and held on tight, stomping and kicking and flailing about in an effort to trip the beast. It fell forward and hit the floor with a heavy thud. A torch was thrown but blind luck had it land the wrong way. The bear then struck Gwyn, swiping and biting and hugging him and then lifting the dwarf up and HURLED it across the intervening space to plow into the half-ogre who they both staggered back a step. The dwarf was down to 2 hit points.

Just before the bear made to run, Soren took careful aim and called shot a stone biter arrow to the bear’s eye. Hitting it. And in doing so, caused the bear to lose all reason and rage.

No longer interested in fleeing it ran at the party now, ignoring its many wounds and bleeding hide. Fire was hurled at it and more arrows follows and Gustav bravely stood in the beast’s way, great sword hacking and slashing. But our luck had failed and the bear tore through the half-ogre’s ring mail. Its claws ravaged the fighter and its hungry blood filled mouth bit hard on our friend’s neck and face. And when it seemed that the half ogre could take no more punishment, the 12’ ursine LIFTED the half ogre off the ground and hugged him with it gigantic paws, ripping his back open and crushing his ribs and bursting his lungs and heart. Killing him.

With fury and screaming and stunned shouts we hit and hit and hit at it until it crawled forward a few paces, slumped down, and died.

The party stood there with blood on their faces and the reek of burning fur and cooking bear filling the air while Brother Beren ran to Gustav and laid his hand on the half-ogre’s neck to tell us that our unstoppable companion had died. And we looked around unsure of what to do next.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Meet 118, Adv 11, 12/18/10

Thinking outside the box.

The party was faced with 2 situations that were presented in a particular fashion and they opted not to go for the linear approach. First it was the "buzzsaw" of a guardroom that is on alert for them and they figured out a workaround with an ancillary trap to throw the "defenders" off their game.

Then it was a straight out fight where a magic weilding assailant was in his stronghold and at the ready for the party, able to neutralize most of them (and eventually capture them and use them for experiments - bwha ha ha) but they used the description of the room to their benefit and forced the use of an old stand by - the potion miscability table.

I was so proud. :)

Write up follows:

The door opened and we looked carefully about. Our steady light revealed a corridor running north to the limit of our vision and little else. Various debris littered the floor in places and there was the acrid stink of vermin. We marched out and made our way northward, Cadassial and Norris leading the way.

At the end of the corridor there was a turn to the left which seemed to eventually lead to a large open aired room and to the right was a single iron bound stone door with a pair of key holes in it. We looked at our single sided brass keys and Cadassial felt they would fit. The party discussed going to the left and checking out the chamber, remembering what the K’Sisithak kobolds had said about the orcs had used that place as a sleeping chamber and some pet giant rats.

Although we didn’t like to leave things at our back, a fight against giant rats was opted not to be pressing enough and we turned our attention back to the door. Our hired thief checked it out and was satisfied that the door was not trapped. So he and Norris used a key each and opened it, revealing a long corridor running south.

We walked down carefully until we arrived at two set of stairs running down about 50’, each one separated by a 2’ wide stretch of stone. There seemed to be no difference to either one of them and when push came to shove, we went down the right hand stairs. At the bottom both Norris and Cadassial checked the door over, finding nothing. But they were concerned and had Gustav come down to open it. The half ogre gave the door a swift kick and…revealed more stairs going down. Chuckle, so much for that.

It was while the thief and bard were halfway down the next flight that Cadassial stopped Norris. He mentioned that they had kicked a bunch of stones just now, stones placed on the steps. The same stones also gave away their presence on the last level and they had gotten their ass kicked from orcs and kobolds. He felt there might be others down there as well. The two of them came back upstairs and told the party they were uncomfortable and wanted to go to the other steps.

On checking them over, no stones or rocks. The bottom door was unlocked but Cadassial said that the door had no give as if it was pressed hard from the other side. The group suspected a spring trap and they rigged up a rope/cord to the handle and went up the steps until Gustav could pull it open safely away – and it burst open with a wet slap and water rushed out, sweeping up the stairs and sloshing back down until it settled at about 7-8’ in height. Ok, trapped water room and we opted not to go that way.

That led us back once more to WHO and WHAT might be at the bottom of the other stairs and how to be ready for it. A frontal assault was discarded as we needed some surprise on our end and that’s when Brother Beren spoke up. He talked to us about the magic chalk he had and that if we could draw a hole from the other set of steps, just at the bottom of the water mark, the magic would create a hole and allow the water to race into the right most steps, sluice down the flight, and slam into the bottom door and surprise whoever was down there.

It was at this point that we realized that Galf our porter was already an artist of some skill and we gave his the chalk, promise of a bonus, and had him go to the place in question and draw a hole in the wall. As he was finishing up he was whisked back up the steps and with a whumphing crunch, the wall parted and thousands and tens of thousands of water slammed into the tunnel and down the stairs. It hit the door and splintered it open and we heard cries of surprise below.

With weapons drawn we raced down and hit the chamber hard. Brigands with crossbows were knocked ass over teakettle about the room, still a standing run of a foot or two of water on the floor (it seemingly racing “through” a wall on the north east corner). Gustav hit the lead ones like a freight train and in the space of a few moments had two down and was plowing through a third. Thodrek and Gwyn were next and then Norris joined them as well. Brigands already down were kept down and others still clutching weapons were hit first. Norris hurled his net and caught two, drowning one under the water. It was Soren and his blast from his Frostbursting bow that cause and interesting turn as he struck a bandit – and then the surrounding water turned to ice trapping two others including the bandit leader!

Crossbows flashed and swords flew and we poured down the steps with a desire to end the combat swiftly. A few of the brigands made to run but Gwyn took down one of the escapees while our hirelings assaulted the last. In no time the battle was ended and we captured one of the brigands for questioning. It was the leader and he was mostly incoherent during all of this, over 15 of his friends slain instantly. He was unable to answer questions and spent a goodly amount of time crying and hysterical.

It was when Gustav went to open the eastern door that things turned poorly quickly. A pair of ballistas were set up here along the back wall and TWO bolts streaked across the chamber, the lead one hitting the half ogre and knocking him on his ass. There were another half dozen or so brigands in here all at the ready but both of our sides were a bit surprised. It was at this time that Aghmar, our mage, stepped forward and filled the other chamber with a billowing mass of foul vapors – choking just about everyone inside as well as dropping visibility to a mere 3’.

A few of us who had decent breaths and a willingness to kick ass (one of them being the enraged Gustav) held our noses and charged in to try and take down the enemies as swiftly as possible. Gustav made it his business to throw his AC to the wind and make it to the back of the chamber – taking out the ballista crews with a barreling charge. A few others were hit deadly and side on while slings and arrows were shot from the door. In a short period of time the battle was done and Aghmar willed the stinking cloud away.

We sorted through what treasures we could find and out half ogre was making it his business to disassemble one of the ballistas to take it with us. We then proceeded to question the few survivors and one of them was most forthcoming. His name was Canian and he answered our questions honestly. He drew out a short map and explained that the original dungeon complex was the purview of some mage from a century ago. Each door needs 2 keys to open and even if a key is lost or destroyed or removed from the dungeon, new ones will magically appear on the level in question. Not every person needs a key though and most times if there is the need to go between levels they do bang on the doors and shout to those below/above to open. Also, sometimes the doors will open and close randomly so it does allow for some drift between levels for the denizens.

There are 2 keys to get to the next level and one of them is with the orcish leader named Gandlarg located north of here and the other is with the bandit lieutenant named Blachau. There was a room with some giant frogs and orcs nearby and the last room in this area was the domain of a bandit (barely) named “The Maker”. He had been some wizard/alchemist of some skill that wanted to be left alone and do his work (which was sort of against the law in some places) – so the local bandits welcomed him to the fold and he was given this area beyond a door in here as his own domain.

He does have animals with him and the occasional bandit – door opens once a week and food, supplies, and what not are given in and then the door is closed for the same period of time. Next time the Maker is to come out is tomorrow.

We thanked Canian and escorted him to the top level and wished him well. He was going to Fulgore Keep to rest for a bit and then get some other job elsewhere. Feeling good about ourselves we then went back and forth on what to do. Do we go after the Serrated Teeth orcs? Do we go from a position of strength and violence or of parlay and communication? How about the Maker? Go after him or not?

We decided to go after the Maker. The door was locked but Aghmar could open it magically in an hour if we gave him time to study. During that time we worked out a plan and came up with who would go first and how we would take out the mage and up to 4 war dogs and maybe 3-6 bandits.

It was time. A number of prep spells were cast and then Aghmar cast his knock spell and the party entered. It was a narrow hall that opened to the left to a much larger chamber. A pair of rune covered columns spanned the 25’ space followed by a oversized alchemist’s lab a large series of tables and beds and chairs and then a huge shelf of potions, some 40 in number. A few bandits were standing about as guards and arrows began peppering the limply standing guards. One of the war dogs was ensorcelled by a beastmaster potion and Gustav came charging in and tore around the corner.

Coming with a few paces of the column, getting a nasty burn, and then knocked out.

Sling stones and arrows flew and we noticed that as we entered the room, our preparation spells failed one after the other. Magic missiles shot at the Maker stopped a foot from him, absorbed by his shield spell. Other bandits were getting swords out and ready to attack. Brother Beren ran to wake up Gustav, got burned from coming to close to the column and was knocked out. Damn it.

Also, the guard we had shot with arrows was not going down; just standing there like a pin cushion and reloading his crossbow. Double Damn. This was not going well and we were cramping up in the hall when the Maker shot a web spell at us and snagged three members of the party together.

It was at this point that the party made a “great leap” in tactics, and a honking huge war hammer was hurled across the chamber TOWARDS the Maker – who was fully expecting his shield spell to deflect it. However, it was not aimed at him – but at the shelf of potions right behind him. Potions that shattered together and mixed uncontrollably…and then created a small cloud of greenish gas and exploded – killing the Maker!

The other bandits begged for their life and they ran towards the group. We used their efforts to help us gather up what riches we could find and considered our unorthodox solution in handling the Maker one of our better ideas as of late. It was now Workmonth the 12th at 5:45 PM and we were going through the last 2 living bandits and 4 war dogs here and trying to make sense over what was to happen next.