I have a new addition to my house making my free time even more precious and spare than it was before. And although I am sure my son, the Moose (he’s constantly in the 100 percentile for his age every damned month!) will love to sit down and play D&D with his old man and big sis, right now he is in that drool and stool stage. So this meant that my daughter’s game had been postponed for some time until this Winter Break.
Her friend and she are now 14 and they have played a bit, grown up, and matured. So I asked them flat out – do they want to roll up new characters now that they know how the game works, and invite another person or two over to join them? They discussed it and agreed it was a great idea.
So we invited 2 but one flaked out 2 hours before the game was to start (his loss). The three of them roll up new characters and we explained the game to the new addition at the table. Still playing B/X – honestly it’s the best and easiest rule system to play and pick up. We ended up with Mark Anthony, a Lawful Cleric to Inti the sun god, Delsin, a Neutral Fighter, and Volkan, a Neutral Magic-User who hopes to be a pyromancer one day.
Originally the two youths had done 2 caves in B2, but for this I wanted to send them through my favorite adventure, B4 – The Lost City. I had to have run and played it 40-50 times and it’s one of the adventures I just know cold. At the end of the meeting I asked as usual if they enjoyed it, got a resounding yes, and told them all we’d see each other in 2 weeks.
Write up follows:
The party had joined a desert caravan and was heading back across the Sinai Peninsula hoping to make it to Istanbul when the caravan was struck by a terrible sandstorm. Your party had gotten separated and when the storm cleared, you were lost and the desert had been blown into new patterns.
You headed north, the last direction the caravan was headed before the storm. Days passed, your mounts die and soon you ate the last of your food and drank the last of your water.
On the 2nd day after the water had gone the party stumbled on the stone wall sticking out of the sand. It was some buried ruined city, most of the place lost scoured clean by the desert. There was a 5 step-pyramid that was crowned by a trio of 30’ tall statues of an old man with a lightning bolt, a winged child with a pair of snakes, and a warrior woman with a sword. Not familiar with the gods the group made their way to the pyramid, the only structure still standing, on the hopes of finding some shelter and more importantly, water and food.
A set of stairs went up the south side that led to the side of the top most tier. Here, they found the desiccated body of a hobgoblin jammed inside a formerly secret door, a large crossbow bolt thrust into its chest. According to Mark, the body has been here a few weeks. Looking through the gloom shower a dusty footprint covered corridor that went off into the pyramid’s heart.
The party discussed it and then voted on Delsin to climb in past the hobgoblin and see if the coast was clear. The fighter did so begrudgingly but did return to say the coast was clear for now. It seemed as if the dusty footsteps had gone off to the east and away from the secret door.
So one by one, the rest of the group entered and we looked around. The corridor was 10’ wide and almost 10’ tall. Very faded paintings lined the walls. The hobgoblin had whatever belongings he once owned taken from his corpse. Volkan tried to remove the crossbow but the head broke off inside the body.
With a torch lit they went down the corridor until they arrived at the end where it turned north and went another dozen plus paces and ended at a door. However, across from this area was a niche in the wall where the group could spot something metallic within. They came closer to investigate and espied a crossbow, bolted in place and pointing at the secret door the group entered by. Now we know how the hobgoblin died. We tried to remove the crossbow but were unable to, so we left it there and continued on towards the door.
The door was stuck and required a bit of pulling, but when open reveals a 40’ square room with a 15’ ceiling. The dust on the floor was disturbed and no details could be seen. Three bronze cylinders went from floor to ceiling and in the center of each cylinder were a 6’ tall, 3’ wide door with a circular spinning wheel lock. Once more, Delsin was asked to check out the chamber first. A quick look led us to believe everything was ok so the rest of the group came in.
With three of us and three doors, the group each took a cylinder and was giving them a look over. We know the one on the right had a loose paving stone under the door which lead up to believe it might be trapped. The middle one had some bloody hand prints on the cylinder part, but not the door. We deduced that if the trap had gone off, it happened when the door had been opened. So we wanted to try this one. Mark took a stance behind the door, grabbed the handle, twisted it, and using the door as a shield, pulled it open.
We did see there was a metal ladder in the middle of the cylinder running both up and down. A check with the torch told us it was at least a 20’ climb in either direction and Mark was willing to do it. It was at this time Delsin happened to glance over and see the main door start to close on its own. He ran over there, stopping the shutting door with his own strength. Meanwhile, the party heard the sound of gas hissing into the room which had us all freaking out. However after a few seconds the sound faded and the door no longer looked like it was going to shut. Delsin was adamant that he was going to stay there, “just in case”.
We looked about the room, and in the corner were small metal tubes where the gas seemed to have come out of. About the width of a finger and only 6” off the ground, we had nothing to jam them up with, although Volkan did try dropping a garlic glove down one of them.
The party wanted to test the trap out again so they opened the door to the room, reshut the cylinder door, and opened it again. And again about a minute later the gas noise started and Delsin had to physically hold the door back from closing. And again, with both doors opened the gas did turn off and the pressure on the main door faded.
Mark took a short jump and climbed UP the ladder 25’ until he arrived at a small room. There were 4 levers here along with a chair to sit on and a brass tube near where his head would be. Mark tested the levers and through small holes in the room he was in, could tell he was in the middle statue of the 3 on top (winged child). Moving the levers made the statue move its hands, legs, head, and eyes. Volkan asked the priest to stop playing around and look down the ladder to see what was below. It seemed there was a faint glow down there, like a candle or lantern.
So Mark climbed down almost 30’ until he came out of the ceiling into a room about the same size as the one above it. There were 3 other doors out of here and what seemed to be gears and levers and other parts that might be used to fix the statue. However, it was the 3 2’ long wide carapaced beetles with glowing spots on their back that made the cleric stop. The beetles then chattered up at his ladder (there were two others here on either side) and the priest then went back up. He informed us of what he found and then went back to the statue’s controls at the top of the lever.
Once there we started to maneuver the levers in rapid succession and with great fervor. However, a loud clattering followed by a snapping sound ensued as one of the levers broke and fell off in his hand, forever preventing the winged child’s arm from rising up again. He sheepishly came back to the cylinder room where he was admonished for his abuses but Mark did reply with a grin, “I like levers!”
This then led us to contemplate opening up the left most cylinder. Delsin was not going to be able to help as he was on door duty so Volkan wanted Mark to do it. The two of them then hid behind the cylinder door, Mark twisted the handle, and pulled. And 4 darts shot out of the western wall and hit Volkan – but none of them penetrated enough to do any real damage!
There was another ladder heading down and up here, and Mark gave another jump onto the ladder but it started to wave under his weight and he jumped out just before the ladder gave way and fell down to the room below amidst the sound of collapsing metal.
So it was back to the middle ladder. It was decided they would all go down one after the other, Delsin, Mark and then Volkan, and do battle with the beetles before they had a chance of getting surrounded or hurt. The torch was dropped down the hole where it landed on the stone floor, illuminating the room below. Then the group each jumped to the ladder and started to climb down swiftly to do combat with the denizens there.