I used to love wandering monsters, and then one day I learned to hate them. Don't know why, but I looked at wandering monsters as the breakdown of a carefully crafted adventure.
Yeah, fricking wrong.
Over time I relearned to introduce the wandering monster check and now do it religiously - about every hour for a busy level/area, every 2 hours for a quiet place. And after every fight.
And the group had a line of monsters wandering down during this meeting.
Write up follows:
The decision was made to check out the giant constrictor. Sneaking down the hall, we noted a door that reeked of vermin and a quick check magically from Detheron revealed that rats – hundreds of them, were behind the door in a large area. We opted not to go in there and kept going onward. There were two corridors, one going north and the other branching to the right before turning north as well. Detheron told us – keep going straight.
The constrictor was in a big chamber and there was a thick layer of old fibers and cloth on the floor. We backed away and went through our possibilities for taking the snake down. Our druid dropped invisibility to animals on 7 of our number and we snuck into the snake’s chamber, arranged ourselves on all sides of it – and attacked enmass. It was the most anticlimactic fight against an unsuspecting foe ever – with poison and critical and mighty blows doing enough damage to kill the snake 4 times over.
We checked over the chamber, finding a crushed gnome in here. We went through his belongings and discovered part of a map and a note talking about Costeval the Fat and level 5 and 8 and Animus potions and owlbears nearby and some sort of Resin. We pocketed the infor and the group all moved into here to rest up. Do we go on? Were the owlbears near? Detheron continued with his locate animal spell and while looking for ursines he did get a weak and muddy response to the north of here.
Norris opted to go explore the other northward corridor and noted numerous gouges on the walls and ceiling. The stink of animal was strong and it was intermixed with the scent of gore. Shy of the end of the hall (which was running long) he stopped and saw 2 of the monsters, but they were taller, bigger, and had odd boney growths sticking out from them. Worried, he came back to the group and explained his concern.
We then fell into an ongoing discussion mixed with resting, killing the owlbears, or anything else with no one making any headway. And then Rahyk drank his potion of heroism and drew his sword, walking towards the owlbear corridor. We scrambled to join our slightly nutty fighter, the armored warriors taking point. Galf and Throdi were told to STAY HERE – here being the room with the big dead snake in it, Jerold and Malak staying as well to keep the porters safe.
We approached the owlbears and immediately launched into an assault. With Rahyk’s potion he was able to deliver many many blows and tore into the owlbears with a fury. The beasts were not without their own skills and delivered terrible blows to the party, lifting a few of them up and hugging them for crushing damage. But the group maintained their vigil and after some time, the owlbears finally fell.
But… our fighting had made much noise and it attracted some wandering monsters – two ogres! They came at the group from behind and Jerold and Malak leapt to the forefront, the shieldbearers blocking the way with their bodies. Cadassial, Agma, and Aghmar were forced to help out, missile weapons flying. The party was coming back down the long hall to help as the ogres punished the party, and then fell.
But…our fighting had made so much noise that it attracted some wandering monsters – 4 troglodytes! Harpoons were thrown and we gave back punishing damage, especially when we realized that one of them was the Shaman that we had last trapped under the big pot. The group then stormed forward in anger and the last of the troglodytes was slain.
And we waited…for more monsters to be alerted to our fighting. But no more came. We sighed in relief and took stock of ourselves. It was late and we were beyond tired. A few trinkets were found but one of them was an odd looking almost 2” thick 5’ long bar bent into a right angle “Z” pattern. After the last round of healing there was little left that Brother Beren and Detheron could do so we limped our way back to the room where the pot originally was, and settled in for a long night.
Watches were kept and we slept well, waking the next day ready and anxious to make it to level 6. We went back to where the owlbears were, looking to go down through the door we had found there, but as we got closer we slowed down concerned. There was no more giant snake chopped up into pieces. And there was no more dead owlbears on the floor. No blood, no nothing. Room was clean and spotless. Spears and 10’ poles came out and we probed ahead, finding nothing. The door was locked and Aghmar came forward to “knock” the door ajar. Brother Beren dropped a create water spell in the middle of the room and we watched carefully as the puddle expanded.
One by one we entered through the door which was a short hall that “Z” turned to a set of stairs going down. Steps were in bad shape, very cracked and damaged. 50’ down was door, also scratched and splintered looking. The walls were shot and the ceiling even had some gouges in it. Yeah…this didn’t look well.
And then we heard some noises from the party still behind and in the room. Turns out the water pooling on the floor stopped in a straight line and was being absorbed by something VERY hard to see. Damn it – gelatinous cube. We all crowded into the narrow room and spent some time checking the place out: stairs, walls, door. Cadassial was convinced the door was a trap but we did not know what and how; only trusting the thief.
Eventually Aghmar used a Detect Secret Door spell when the group realized that there was a 10’ area at the top of the steps that should not have been there. Possible big boulder? His spell showed there WAS a door there – 10’x10’. Do we open it? Can we open it? Someone dared to go back into the room with the Gelatinous Cube and checked the back of the 10’ wide area – sure enough, on the wall, was a 2”hole. We inserted the bar we had found and rotated it until it caught. Then we cranked it. In one direction we heard faint clattering sounds and it turned freely. When we turned it the other way the clattering grew sharper and then stopped, the bar not moving and something heavy shifted.
Giant boulder. Open the bottom door, it rolls down and crushes you. Crank winds it back up.
But now we were pissed. The trogs had lied to us…TWICE! Both sets of stairs resulted in traps. That meant we had to go back to the 3 choices – and this time try “other”.
We avoided the cube easily and made our way to the “other” door, north wall. We opened it and were immediately dismayed at our choices. It reeked and was damp, odd dripping sounds and strange slimy residue everywhere. There was a side opening that we avoided from the main corridor as it was foul and odorous. Until we got to a room with a dripping ceiling, octagonal shaped, large puddle in the middle of the room. Puddle…right.
We tested about and found out it was a grey ooze. Weapons struck and damage was done and some of our equipment was weakening but the puddle was killed. Under it was a handful of wooden bric a brac, one of them a wand of some sort that had to do with “ropes”. We marched on, wary and careful. Corridor meandered to an unused chamber with a pile of old furnishings and a ratty chest.
Group assaulted the chest and it was a mimic. Battle was short and the beast was slain and we looked inside, taking a few coins and a key. There was a single door here, partially hidden. We checked it out and it was an “L” shaped small room with a half dozen chests and double wide rack of weapons. Chests had coins of silver and gold and we began snatching up the booty. It was when Gwyn was looking over the weapons that he realized that they were VERY poor and would survive a single swing before snapping. Which had us look over the coins – which were painted lead slugs. Damn it.
But we had dragged out all the chests and there was a lever on the back floor in the middle position – push forward or pull back. Norris opted to be the test – and pushed forward. Nothing bad happened and a single 3’x3’ opening in the wall. Beyond was a small 5’ triangular alcove with a single shelf that held a potion vial, a scroll case, and a small black bag. Black bag held a LARGE diamond. Which our bard pocketed and told no one. J
He came out with the potion which was a potion of “Perfect Mind” – increase someone’s intelligence a permanent point. And the scroll was a scroll of Raise Dead – would revive anyone from death if died within the last “X” hours. We pocketed the treasures and decided what to do with them and where to go next.