Wandering Monsters have been the mainstay in Gullin Caves and the party has has some pretty unlucky rolls. Like the Roper. I had no idea it was there, I had the yellow mold in the mist on the floor, and the piercers are in the area - but they made so much noise that I rolled a wandering check and blammo - Roper. So the roper had "always" been there - moving slightly - it was Schroedigar's Roper - neither there nor not there until they ran into it.
From both sides of the screen - we are having a blast.
Write up follows:
As a group we decided to walk northward. Cautiously we traversed the misty chamber until our lead members trod on something soft that released a cloud of yellowish spores into the air. Gwyn, Aleron, and Guyus all ran forward, choking and coughing but relatively unharmed while Smokey and Jerrig fell over dead from the spores.
Detheron called to Guyus to help somehow and the paladin dared to go back into the spores, grab Smokey, and pull/roll/tug the massive ursine closer to the edge of the next corridor. A quick prayer by the paladin brought Smoky back to life which relieved the rest of the party. The group was very nervous about coming across the opening to help when the stalactites from the ceiling suddenly began to let go and fall amongst the three on the other side. Piercers!
One of them brained the barely conscious bear, killing him again and the others were raining on the paladin, dwarf, and ranger. Getting hurt and trying to avoid being killed, they ran ahead, shields overhead as they fled from the spores, the dead bear, and the falling piercers. They disappeared around a turn in the corridor and was gone from sight.
And they ran right into a roper.
9 feet tall, 7’ diameter at the base, 6 tentacles went flailing out and they slapped about the group – sucking strength from some of the party (Aleron and Gwyn) and wrapping around the ranger’s leg. Aleron fell over and was tugged closer to the monster’s gnashing teeth. The group tried to sever the limb and the ranger was brought to the roper’s mouth.
Meanwhile Draugmor was picking his way through the chamber; feeling ahead to make sure that there was no other yellow mold on the floor, circling around to the far right of the clearing.
Guyus hacked at the limb, cutting it free from the ranger and swinging Aleron over to avoid getting bit. The roper gnawed at the paladin’s armor, crunching some of the steel plates. Meanwhile Gwyn’s strength was growing weaker as the roper kept whipping at him. They plied blows at the roper’s limbs, cutting another tentacle free.
Once across the chamber, Draugmor motioned for the rest of the group to join him, the druid anxious to get to the bear that was bleeding out on the other side of the chamber, the tiger Jerrig slain with piercers in his body.
Gwyn was able to slam some of the wyvern poison into the roper, the terrible stuff causing the monster to twitch and writhe and snarl as it coursed through its body. It bit at Gwyn’s scimitar, swallowing it whole. Gwyn suffered more strength drain, bringing him down to a 4 strength. Aleron plied dagger from a distance and Guyus went toe to toe with the beast, keeping it at bay as the poison finished it off.
Detheron called to Frey and halted Smokey’s death while Draugmor and Norris went ahead to the sound of the battle.
The Roper Gave one final tug and Gwyn was inside the beast’s mouth as it crunched down, killing the dwarf. Aleron hacked at its base with his dagger, his blows weak but still effective. Guyus was bathed in roper spittle and the excretions from its tentacles but the paladin refused to give up, sword slamming again and again. Finally with a gurgle it stopped moving, fell down to its base, and died.
We fished out the dwarf and healing was applied. Gwyn drew a gasping breath and was breath but still knocked out for some time. We grouped up again and doled out what healing we could. It was bad.
Inside the roper we grabbed Gwyn’s scimitar and under its first stomach was a handful of gemstones that we took. Norris took two of its tentacles to use as scourging whips and we were unsure of what to do next. Draugmor scouted ahead and let us know that that for the next 5 minutes down past the roper, the corridor was empty.
Norris opted to go back to where we had left both stretchers filled with wood and get our belongings. Picking his way past the piercers easily (those that had fallen, Mebali had stabbed their undersides until they stopped moving) and around where the yellow mold was – but did see that our cache of wood was now looked over by 9 crudely armed and armored gnolls! The hyena-like men barked to the bard in their own language – and Norris understood gnoll!
He spoke to them, they were from Clan Gullin and their leader was named Glaskar. They wanted the wood and Norris was trying to let them know it was our wood. They were friendly and referred to Norris as Dritka – so they traded out 100 lbs of wood and two stretchers for the bard’s broad sword. He gave it up to Glaskar and the gnolls were happy with the trade.
They then spent some time talking about the cave and we learned some things – there are two ropers, displacer beasts are aplenty, Gullin is what makes the gouges in the stone and is big, Clan Gullin lives off the main chamber and their lair is warded by yellow mold, there is a lair of ice toads, something lives in the darkness along the western corridor and the gnolls give it a large gulf, Gullin really dislikes Grylians, and before we get to Gullin there is an area of the ground that is lit from below and if you touch it it will burn you.
We thanked Glaskar and left with our wood and Norris told the party of what we had learned. As a group we were knackered and needed to rest, but to our estimation there was still at least 5-6 hours until sun”out”. Eventually Gwyn was awakened and between him (strength of 4 down 14 and suffering from a near death experience), Aleron (strength of 13 down 6), and Smokey (suffering from a near death experience) we were pretty messed up. The ranger and dwarf couldn’t handle their own gear it was too heavy for them and a lesser restoration was cast on Gwyn to return some of his strength (2-3 points).
With slow steps and great care we followed Draugmor’s lead down past the roper, following the winding corridor for 15 minutes until it opened into a grotto. Some stalactites and stalagmites, nothing really past 2-3 feet in length. In the center of the ceiling was a 7’ long stalactite, hanging straight down over a 6’ diameter round subterranean pool. Every minute a single drop fell from the tip and into the pool. There were two other ways out of the grotto, on the east and west.
The party debated the pool for a few minutes. Guyus assured us it wasn’t evil, and Detheron cast a spell to let us know the pool was magical. Alright…weird. Draugmor dared to get closer and looked down with the lantern – at the bottom of the pool was a skeletal hand sticking out of the rocks at the bottom, and it was holding a black cloth wrapped bundle maybe 3’ in length and cylindrical ay perhaps 10”. The pool was also over 5’ deep.
We talked about what to do next for a bit and decided we were NOT going to screw with the pool. Leave it and move on.