At some point someone in your group will go off on their own and have a solo adventure. When we were younger and played multiple times a week, that was ok to take a half hour or an hour out and solo run Dumbass the Fighter on his hunt for the bugbear, or Greedles the Thief as he went to steal the innkeeper blind. As I've gotten older and the game time has shrunk from 8 hour stints twice a week to 4.5 hour stints 3 saturdays out of every 4, solo time has been subtly squashed where able to.
But I have a player at my table who is not the best role player but damn it, he's shown up more often than most everyone else and whenever he does get into something, I like to promote it for him, because honestly I am happy when he WANTS to be a bigger part than second fighter on the left.
So Gwyn the dwarf had his own foray with a pathetic obese ettin trapped in a dungeon too small for himself and even though his reasons were selfish for taking the ettin with him, he did it in such a way that for a time his character was nobler than he normally gives himself the credit of being.
And now he had a rapid fire crossbow box - something I had sworn personally to keep out of his hands. Damn - that's going to bite me in the ass I just know it! ;)
Write up follows:
We looked down the long hall – the 9’ tall stone and steel golem holding the big box just standing in the corner alcove. No one wanted to risk walking up to it, and no one was keep on passing it either. We lit Soren’s lantern for an extra light source and debated the situation briefly. Eventually it was decided that Rahyk and Guyus would risk passing the golem, watching carefully to see that the construct did not start to move. At no point would ANYONE dare to touch it. We watched the two fighters get closer and closer – and then pass the golem without issue. Feeling a sigh of relief, the rest of the party followed suit until everyone had gotten by.
The hall turned left and then left again. We spied past and saw the hall was lined with torches and beyond the corridor seemed to be rounded and painted alternating black and white striped. There was also an opening to the left where we heard some heavy breathing coming from it. The breathing might be from what we assumed to be the ettin the two albino apes had described to Detheron earlier. No one was sure about the spinning looking corridor and we talked long about possible ways to assault the ettin. Unfortunately we spent so long in the hall talking about it and our voices did rise that we bothered the ettin who called out in both Ogrish and Giantish from both of its heads, the “Stop jabbering and just come on it.”
We carefully entered and Gwyn was shoved forward, our dwarf having the ability to understand and speak Ogrish. The room was at one point a guard chamber but had seen better days. A few counters and cabinets in poor shape were on the south wall, a door was in the far corner near a 14’ tall two headed pretty damned fat looking specimen of an ettin. It was not wearing anything, its grotesque gut overhanging its giantish…package. There was a soup cauldron in its arms and it was dunking chunks of strange meat into it, slurping the greasy mixture between its heads. It was sitting on a bed of crushed and strange animals – not hides, just flattened and rather oddly deformed animals.
The room was much too small for the ettin who would have to crouch should it stand up. It wanted to know what the party wanted and Gwyn said to pass. It said ok, give the word. We didn’t say we didn’t know it, but waited long enough until it said, well give me something to eat or something shiny. Soren quickly pulled out the hallucinogenic mushroom soiled meat we had been carrying since the 4th level and told Gwyn to give it to the ettin. It slurped it down and said that 3 of the party could go past.
We looked through what we had and most of the rest of the bear steaks and other “turning” meat products we had were passed forward and given to the ettin, identified as Taramis, who looked at the bounty and said the group could pass. It seemed friendly and was honest about its plight – came here some time ago from Stenthian, the dungeon is too small for it, nowhere to go and can’t fit through most of the doors. It seemed to want to chat but we walked on by, wishing the two headed monster well.
The next chamber seemed to be the one in question that we had suspected the Sun Sphere to be in. There were two other doors out of here and the ceiling had a 9 count oh hemispheric globes pressed tight against the stonework. Each was painted with a heavy layer of faux-gold paint. The floor of the room was 6 inches lower than normal and we gave the ceiling a once over. Detheron called upon Frey and tried to find magic, noting that 3 of the globes contents was glowing with magic.
We were tired though and there was nothing except a few spells still at our disposal. We looked over the two possible doors out of here; the one on the left was a long corridor that smelled of mildew, the one on the right was a set of stairs going down about 9 feet to some water filled corridor. The group talked and decided that we would stay here for the night. We took a length of rope and tied the two doors closed and then the rest of us shared what water and food we had before setting ourselves up and going to rest.
As time went on and the group kept watch, Gwyn who was on 2nd watch noted that the ettin, Taramis, was talking to some creature, orcish, that was rather loud and angry sounding. After the orc had gone, the dwarf opened the door and chatted with Taramis. The orc was upset over the death of Stenthian and wanted to know if Taramis had seen what happened. Gwyn and Taramis spent the next two hours talking to one another, playing cards, and just generally bonding – the ettin even though evil, was miserable in his situation and just wanted the opportunity to get out of here and go home.
Gwyn thought. He wanted the possibility of getting a rapid fire box for his crossbow but with the golem nearby, it wasn’t going to happen. So he tried to convince Taramis that they would have to take out the golem and one they had done so, then Gwyn could help the Ettin get to the portal. Taramis let Gwyn know that the portal would not work if it was red, only if it was blue/green. So Gwyn lied and said it was ready. There was some serious discussion until Taramis was swayed that he would have to knock the golem down and take its arms and legs off.
So the dwarf and the Ettin (who was crab walking hunched over down the corridor) headed back towards the golem, Gwyn sneaking past and then Taramis reached out, grabbed the golem by the head, and punched (only to yelp in pain at the hitting of rock). The golem animated, dropping its box of quarrels and grappled with the ettin. They struggled for a moment while Gwyn looked on with surprise and then Taramis gave out a might roar, hoisted the multiton golem OFF the ground and rolled backward, hurling the constructed creature over his flabby body and down the hall.
Gwyn charged to the crossbow room and made sure that the tiles were pressed and shot off the loaded bolts one by one, and then cut each and every string in there making sure there would be no chance of someone getting accidentally shot. Meanwhile the golem and the ettin continued their fight and it was loud and terrible to hear. Carefully Gwyn walked down to the corner, Taramis was badly hurt, nursing his left arm that was twisted the wrong way, many scratches and bruises covered his form. The golem’s head and right arm was missing, and its left leg was bent the wrong way, forcing the construct to have a shuffling gait. And still they battled on.
The dwarf reached down, grabbed the end of the quarrel box and started to run down the hall with it which caused the golem to deliver a vicious kick to Taramis’ midsection and stomp over the ettin to give chase. The box was heavy, the golem was wounded but running, and the gap between the dwarf and the pursuer was closing. Gwyn ran into the crossbow room, out the other entrance, and towards the corridor with all the pits. He threw the door open as the golem rounded the corner, shoved the box until it clattered 25’ down, and then jumped across the pit as the golem finally closed to touching distance.
It stepped over the edge and fell, crumbling on the bottom of the pit and trapped there with no way to get out. Gwyn carefully leapt back over the pit gave one look at the golem down in the hole, and went back to Taramis. The ettin was not dead, just very badly hurt. Gwyn sat with his new friend for a pit while Taramis wanted to know if Gwyn would go with him to the portal and see if it would work. There was some hemming and hawing but Gwyn agreed and the two of them crept towards the stairs. They looked out and the portal was indeed bluish/green. A lone orc was in front of it, reading some book.
Taramis wished Gwyn well and the dwarf watched his lumbering friend charge across the chamber, both heads screaming. Not wanting to see what happened next, Gwyn ran back up the stairs – the sounds of the orc shrieking filling his ears along with the dual roars of the ettin and then some other strange calls. A sense of unease washed over the dwarf as there were some crackling noises when the portal fired up but Gwyn decided NOT to further investigate and instead ran back to the party and take up his watch again.
We rested late the next day and Gwyn filled us in about Taramis and his departure and the “no more golem” issue. It was now time to look into getting what we came here for. Aghmar fired up a floating disk and Norris climbed on while the rest of the group retreated to Taramis’ room. Positioned under the north eastern hemi-sphere Norris turned it counterclockwise until it finally came free and we beheld – the Sun Sphere! (Hooray!!)
Using the flat of his dagger he scrapped the paint away from the other surfaces revealing a crystalline area below that we were able to look through. It took some time but we found lots of clothes and personal belongings as well as a black iron box, a sack, an oil lamp, and a few other items. The bag was a bag of holding filled with at least 4,000 copper, it lamp was magical but we didn’t do anything with it, the box held some potions.
Rahyk and Soren got into a discussion over the lamp and it ended up with neither one being satisfied. This was a foreshadowing on other issues to come.
During all this Gwyn and a few others had snuck back to the crossbow room and dismantled one of the rapid fire boxes from the weapon, taking it back to our chamber and attaching it to Gwyn’s crossbow. He then loaded it and we drew up into a marching order. No one wanted to go down either the mildew smelling corridor or the water filled passage. So instead we went back to the “spinning corridor” just north of Taramis’ room and looked in and on. We heard that there were bugs at the end of it but not sure what and where.
Norris scouted and came back telling us that there was a turning corridor and then some sort of chamber as well. Detheron called on Frey and discovered there were some 100,000 flesh eating beetles in that “room” beyond. There was a corridor beyond it but no one wanted to risk it. Instead they had Brother Beren erect an anti-vermin barrier near the entrance of the room and then the party ventured down slowly into the corridor.
The barrier held and the bugs within went somewhat nuts in their attempt to get to the party but to no avail. We kept going past and eventually the corridor ended at a single door. Norris checked it out, determined it was trapped, and we rigged up a rope to open it – and two spears shot out. Beyond the door was…nothing. Damn it!!
We went back to the bug room and with a series of carefully looking and checking around, determined that there was another way out of this chamber. But storming in was not going to work. Instead, Detheron called on Frey and pounding hail smashed into the chambers, filling the floor with slushy ice and the subfreezing temperatures helped kill off the bugs in here.
We walked across to the other corridor out, and it went down 9’ or so to a water filled corridor. There was thought that it went back to the other one from the globe room but wanted to make sure of it first. So about 5 of us went into the 3’ deep water and started walking when Rahyk got a funny feeling and asked for one of Detheron’s quarter staves. Sure enough after a few feet the floor of the corridor dropped away – pit hidden under the water. We backed up slowly and the party then went back to the globe room.
Gwyn had informed us of the uncomfortable sensation of the area around where the portal was and the other two passages out of here were a bust – which left only the corridor smelling like mildew.
We queued up and went down the corridor two by two, eventually getting closer to the end where we stopped in shock and dismay.
The room was cavernous, ceiling stretched some 30’ above our head and the floor was hidden far below we assumed under the surface of the scummy water some 35’ below us. Clumps of glowing fungus abounded giving the chamber a greenish aura. As we watched slimy shaped of dungeon squid disturbed the surface of the water. And suspended from the ceiling were a series of braided ropes that supported disks of wood between 5’ and 10’ in diameter, acting as steps and a path from one end of the room all the way to the other. A few plinths of solid rock stuck out of the water about half way across.
There was no desire to go this way but there was also no desire to go back. We had to try. A few ideas were bandied about and we were settling on possibly roping 4 of us together and making our way from platform to platform. Rahyk pulled out the “rope” wand we had grabbed some levels above and the fighter aimed it at the nearest platform’s rope and experimented with it. Learning that he could raise, lower, and adjust the rope as well as “pull” himself towards it.
We watched as he made his way from one end of the room to the other using only 2 or 3 of the magical charges. He did offer to share it with the party, but for some reason no one answered him. He offered again and again was ignored. Yeah, that was pissing him off.
Detheron called to Frey and gave himself the ability to climb like a spider, where he then made his way from one end of chamber to the other, standing next to a growling and simmering Rahyk. As for the rest of the party, pretty much on Soren had no problem leaping from platform to platform, making his way back and forth with ease. We roped ourselves together and then had the idea of Aghmar using his Floating Disk spell to carry even more of us.
It was only on the third platform that disaster struck and a couple of us slid off the end of the wooden disk. It was a frantic hold for a bit while Gwyn and Soren pulled up the terrified group. Then we slowly made our way to the plinth and rested. From here, Aghmar shoved his floating disk across the intervening space until it ended about at the exit where the fighter and druid were and we began shuttling everyone over one at a time. When the first batch was done we got the next batch over and then finally the third until on Norris, Aghmar and Soren were left.
If was here that things started going pear shaped. While getting our way over Aghmar slipped and ended up dangling down over the water. Then Norris slid off as well, the bard and mage tied together. Norris’ rope was tied to the platform and Soren was struggling to help lift them up when some of the dungeon squid tentacles started reaching up and grabbing at Aghmar. The mage was shouting and yelling and the tentacles gripped tight and began pulling – the dungeon squid’s face poking out of the slimy water and another squid next to this one.
Jerold began hurling darts down into the water, Soren tried to take aim and fire with his bow, Brother Beren called out to Tyr and shot a spiritual hammer down at the squid. Aghmar was kicking wildly and Norris shot a fear spell straight down, scaring off one of the squid but not the other one and Aghmar was now shrieking in terror.
Then Soren was shouting for Rahyk to use the wand and the word were exchanged and stupid this and rude and selfish that and back and forth and Rahyk was furious at the ranger and instead of using the wand, sent it tumbling over the edge of the room towards the water! Only a frantic grab by Malak saved the magic wand but the damage was done as the rope between Norris and Aghmar parted with a rip and the mage was dragged screaming down into the water where he disappeared under the slimy surface.
The party was stunned. Norris worked his way over to safety followed by a furious Soren who proceeded to lace into the angry Rahyk who was yelling back at the red faced elven leader. And that’s where that game ended.