Interparty fights happen. Let's face it, it is a social game and people are going to clash. Hell, most of us a 50% genetically identical to our parent and we fight with them - why would a pile of strong will friends around a table for 6 hours talking not eventually get under someone's skin?
When I was younger I reveled in it - someone burns me as Julo the Fighter, my next character is chaotic evil and I knife Julo the 1st time I'm on watch. That ended quickly as the games broke down to one shot messes. So we scrapped the campaigns and I started to layout what was going to end up being my own game world for the next 26 years and it was with the idea that this was a social game and a team effort and we would not have that sort of screwing around at the table.
There are still times though when something just goes the left when it should have gone right and tempers fly and personalities clash both in character and out and then BLAM implosion. This had happened and I'd like to think that some growth was achieved as a group from it.
Write up follows:
While most of the party was in shock and grief over Aghmar’s demise, looking over the edge of the precipice down into the softly glowing scum covered water below, Soren and Rahyk were verbally at each other’s throats. Words were exchanged, barbed tossed, and snarling attacks on each other’s character were bandied about.
It was boiled down to a few issues: Soren continuously fails to show appreciation for anyone in the party’s efforts, Rahyk too often leaves on his own to do what he thinks best, no formal deal was remembered by too many of the group on who was getting any shares of the treasure, Soren lost his patience over leadership one too many times and gave up on the group, Rahyk has to accept that everyone does their job to the best of their ability, and lastly – no one was ever to again let another person in the party die if it was in their ability to save them.
Was the matter solved? Probably not – but it would do until we got out of the dungeon and back to civilization. For now an uneasy truce was established between Soren and Rahyk.
We lit lantern, giving it to Agma, and the group pressed on, looking for the way out. There were a few twists and turns and then the group smelled shit. Fresh shit. Ahead was a large faintly odiferous pile of it. Our druid gave it a once over and assured us it was herbivorous droppings, and if it was a typical amount, the figure that dropped it was close to 400 lbs in size. We saw nothing that would identify what it might be but we moved on carefully.
Eventually we came to a door and it was closed but there was a faint smear of feces on the handle. Norris gave the door a good once over and declared it safe (although filthy). Using an extra shirt we had picked up we cleaned off the door and opened it up. Room was big, 40 x 30, and there was an oversized 4x3x3 stone/wood/iron chest in the middle. Floor was covered in about an inch or two of dirt and there was an opening on the opposite side of the chamber. Humanoid large two toed prints seemed to run across the room towards the chest and then out towards the other side.
Everyone felt the chest was a trap but was unsure of what to do. Whoever was just here ran towards the chest and then out. We used a pair of shovels and cleared out a small section of the floor, showing normal stone beneath. Giving the soil a heavy glance, Soren drew out a small pinch of his ivy seeds and threw them onto the dirt – satisfied to see them quickly grow into 8’ lengths of pale green ivy. The soil was the same quality as the soil from the 4th floor. Detheron called on to Frey to detect any pits and uncovered a huge one almost 40’ deep taking up most of the room and centered under the chest. The soil had the tendency to dissolve leather and flesh so we one by one took off our shoes for what was to come.
We kept clearing away more of the soil, concentrating where the footprints were, eventually uncovering the lip of a closed pit. Ok, getting somewhere. Whoever it was in here before had run over the pit and did not trigger it. Soren volunteered to try and the ranger backed up a few steps and then charged over the pit, following in the same path the other person had gone. The floor felt like it was going to give way beneath the elf until he arrived at the area around the chest. At that point he heard a click and the floor felt solid as he ran the rest of the way across.
Ok, that worked. Do we want to open the chest? Most likely a trap but we’d save it for the end. We had Soren run back, following the same path – this time the floor felt solid until he arrived at the chest where he heard the click and then the floor felt bouncy. We checked our rope and learned that we were running out. Taking tow 30’ lengths, a quick mend spell spliced the two ends together and we tied a portion of it to Soren who ran BACK across (again: bouncy, click, solid). The other end was tied to a grapple and situated near the entrance.
After this we got the party across by staying in the same path until Norris was last. Our bard then went up to the chest and placed himself over it. After riding on top he cleared out the area around it and revealed a place for him to stand. He checked it out, no traps, and then using the keys from Taramis opened the lock. With a steadying breath he lifted the top and suddenly yelled out and the floor dropped away everywhere – pit opening was 20 x 30. IN fact only the CHEST remained in place- hovering in the air. Norris was holding on to the edge and pulled himself up, swinging one leg in. Inside written on the top were the words “Ha ha” written in elvish. He went to scratch it out but defacing any of the inner surface of the chest made the magic holding it 40’ off the floor shake and spark so he stopped.
The rope was tossed to the party who started to pull – and in fact pulled the chest across the air! Very nice. It took some doing but we got Norris and the chest on the right side of the pit and took stock of what we had found. Chest weighted 90 lbs and seemed to float and stay in position after it was moved somewhere. Sort of a cross between Tenser’s floating disk and a levitation spell. We could lift it up and it would stay there, or we could angle it down and it would sink. We also loaded it up with chests and people and it still felt like it was 90 lbs. Norris wanted to take it and so we dragged the chest along, eventually allowing Galf to place his chest inside of it and the porter instead just pushed the floating chest along.
Corridor eventually split and we took some time mapping it out, the right/straight option eventually led to a pair of corridors that turned in on themselves and went in circles while the left meandered around to two doors. The first door was closed and the second had a sensation of pressure behind it after Norris checked it out. We believed that one was trapped so went back to the first. We heard nothing and went to open it when water started blowing past our knees through the open portal. It took 3 of us to reclose/relatch the door shut and check to make sure the water in the hall was actually just water. Ok, that room had some maybe 2’ of water covering the floor.
Going back to the trapped door, Norris offered to remove the pressure plate trap and was about halfway done when he slipped and the door cracked open, a spear driving straight down and into his back, pinning him in place. A 2nd spear did not fire but could at any moment. Guyus stepped over Norris with his shield blocking him, Soren used a piece of the rust monster’s antenna we had picked up to rust the other unfired spear, and Detheron/Brother Beren helped free the bard from his position.
One free and bound up, we were dismayed to see the door did not lead anywhere. Now what? Water room or back to the two corridors that might turn back into each other? We opted to check out the corridors and hoped to find stairs there. Upon looking we found 3 bodies there, pale, unmoving, dead for what seemed like 2-3 days and totally naked – two humans and a dwarf. The other corridor looked to be the same, 3 more bodies, tow humans and an elf. Both corridors did reconnect at the end.
Do we mess with them or not? Norris decided to take a chance and tossed a coin at one of the humans. Nothing happened. We were talking about going down to check it out or just leaving when the body he had hit reached up and scratched where it was hit. Fuck. A detect evil was enacted by Guyus but he felt nothing! The body then groaned and said in a heavy accent, “What the hell? Where’s my pants?”
We had conversation with it and learned that it was a guy named Denathi and he was in a tavern in Tarkis and he thought it was 120 years ago. Was drinking and woke up here naked. He moved slowly and jerkily like a zombie but was not evil and had full control of his speech and memories and faculties. In fact he wanted pants. We gave him a set from our group and even Norris was able to shake it/his hand and had no ill effects. Brother Beren was torn and felt a resistance from his god on just turning the seemingly undead Denathi.
At one point Denathi went to wake up another of the fallen bodies, but when he touched it, there was a flash and the body turned to dust. Denathi seemed to straighten up and was no longer moving so jerkily, plus the pale deadish look faded and he seemed to be normal looking. We debated over it slightly and then settled on waking up the other 3 bodies, getting more of the same except from the dwarf who said he was an adventurer named Hammerhand who was part of a group that was going against some necromancer called the Mottled One about 90 years ago.
We figured that it was the same necromancer that was a part of Double Dagger Dungeon. We also learned a bit about the Blackblood resin – necromantic rites can be used to keep the blood flowing from a magical creature and the blood can be used to shortcut some potion makings, “monsterize” animals, or provide a protective unguent for undead. We opted to take the 4 undead with us out of the dungeon, outfitting them with some leftover equipment and clothes we had.
But with no where left to go we went back to the water door and decided to work it opened. Gwyn used his auger and drilled a hole about 4” from the floor. The water rushed out and we waited as it filled the hall. Eventually we did note that at the corner, it did not turn left but seeped under the wall! Hammerhand shoved hard and the wall slid up – secret door! Whoo hoo.
Once the water did stop we opened the door again and took a look. Very big room and 4 dead bodies here, 3 orcs and 1 minotaur. We went in to strip the bodies and once again, when our new undead friends touched them, they turned to dust and the 4 of them did not appear to be as zombie-like anymore. Hammerhand did touch a 2nd one and a sort of black glow surrounded him. We were getting less confident as time went on.
Equipped now with more armor and weaponry from the dead orcs and minotaur we lined up and went towards the secret door. The corridor wound in an “S” pattern for a bit until we came across…a large spider! It occurred to us that it might be the same spider that Detheron had spoken to a day or two ago so another speak with animal spell was enacted and our druid talked.
Sure enough it was the same and we asked the arachnid where the “fire room” was that we had originally encountered it in – and were told that we were almost there. The spider seemed concerned and wanted to travel with Detheron and the druid thought about it, and then decided that having an almost 3’ spider with us could only be a good thing.
We arrived at the fire room and worked our way across easily after we had snuffed out the torches. It was when Brother Beren was going across, riding in the magical floating chest, that he had the cover pulled closed and the chest just dropped out of the sky. Damn it. Norris was pissed and we tried to open the chest again to get it to float but it just would not, even though it was confirmed that the chest WAS still magical. We split up our belongings and carried the chest with us as we made our way across the floor.
From here it was a short walk past the guard room, through the smoky portal with the 3 color code on it, and to the stairs up to the 6th level.
We checked out what was Costeval the Fat’s chamber, seeing it empty, and continued on to the secret corridor, eventually ending up at the start of the 6th level. We took the stairs to the 5th level and started the long walk around the corridors where we had the fight with the orcs before. We listened, and there were some more of them back, guarding the corridor again.
We drew out into lines and then charged as quietly as we could down the dark long hall to crash into the orcs, armor class thrown to the wind. King and Kong were first, the 2 carnivorous apes tearing the orcs to shreds with roars and cries. Norris, Guyus, Rahyk, and Hammerhand all followed right behind with Soren shooting overhead into the packed orcs. The greenskins stepped back and a few tried to fire at the apes but they broke and ran instead. Axes were hurled and we pressed on. King pursued, Kong was slowed down thanks to Detheron’s calls.
We ran on, legs pumping hard in an effort to make it to the orcs but the last one turned the corner and King gave chase. We heard the twang of crossbows fired and then a heavy thud as the ape fell. Norris assaulted one of the orcs hard but it was Hammerhand who viciously took out the last of the orcs, dispatching each of them with a flurry or singular sharp edged blows from his war axe. And with each one he killed, he grew more fluid and the dark glow about his grew stronger.
And the party was very concerned.
He was still not evil, but there seemed to be a shift in his attitude as he was not so eager to “move on to the other side”. A few spells were tested (including a turning) and nothing seemed to work. Also, the spells that were aimed at him from Brother Beren he was able to capture and pass on on his own – Hold Personing Norris in the meanwhile.
We wanted to get out and took the 4 undead friends with us still, but now looked on them with some trepidation and thought about how to handle it and them once we were top side once more.