..of The Fog of Battle and Other Missteps.
(Note that I'm one session behind in my campaign tales. I'll be caught up in the next couple of posts.)
Arvin Ardmore - Acolyte of Mithra
Gedleessmote Hammersend - Veteran Dwarf Warrior
Wolfhere - Viking from the North
Tibag Backstabber - Elf Rogue
Slick Vinny - Human Medium
and a Mule.
First I'll say that the dice didn't roll in the players favor early on. That said, when last we left our faithful party, the dwarf had been paralyzed by a ghoul attack, the later of which had been dispatched and Slick Vinny had set fire to the last two wooden coffins.
As the room began to fill with smoke, the party thought it best to exit the chamber and rest in the hallway near where they entered (always a good thing to do in a dungeon) while the Dwarf recovers and the room airs out. On their way they ran into a couple of wandering giant rats which they made short work of.
After having rested in the hallway for an hour and the dwarf fully regaining his faculties, the party stepped forth once again. Rounding the corner they see, blocking their way, six giant spiders feasting on the giant rats and not paying much heed to our stalwart adventures (result of a wandering monster check during their rest). Deciding that the only way to continue their exploration is through the spiders, Tibag begins firing arrows at them which agitate the over-sized arachnids. Now, Tibag is usually a good shot, mind you, and the only one with a ranged weapon (unless you count Slick Vinny tossing darts into the darkness in vain), but the gods did not smile upon him this day and the arrows just flew into the darkness, mostly missing their targets and killing only one. People are starting to panic a bit as these 5 spiders, climbing along the walls, floors and ceiling rush closer. Slick Vinny tosses a flask of oil in front of the oncoming horrors and Wolfhere tosses the torch to light it but.....misses again (see last session). Now the spiders are upon them and things go from bad to worse!
Wolfhere, Tibag and Gedlee take the front rank, and Arvin, protecting Slick Vinny stay back. That doesn't stop the spiders as the ones crawling on the ceiling drop and attack the two in the rear! Tibag is the first to slay a spider but Gedleessmote is the first to feel the pain of the creatures fangs. But the dwarf makes his save vs. poison and continues the melee. Next it is Wolfhere that feels the sting of the spider. His save doesn't go so well. I didn't want to go the save or die route with the poison and end up with a TPK, 'cause that's where it was headed. So I rolled a d4 for the number of rounds before the poison would take affect and then another d4 for the length of incapacitation. So Wolfhere, had one round before the poison would take affect which the intensity of which would last 4 round. So the Viking slayed his spider in the next round and, turning pale, spun around to help Slick Vinny who just had a spider land on his face! Wolfhere, keels over and becoming violently ill!
Arvin's spider lands next to him, and being unable to land a hit was bit by the eight-legged creature. Arvin, of course, misses his save and shortly keels over as well, puking all over the place.
Vinny, pulls the spider from his face and tosses it on the ground, and turns to aid the afflicted Arvin. He swings with his staff and....(rolling a natural 1)....misses the arachnid and slugs the poor cleric in the head!
Tibag and Gedleessmote continue to struggle with their spider, Wolfhere and Arvin puking all over the hallway, and Vinny swinging wildly at the spider until finally breaking his staff (another roll of 1). Things are looking grim, indeed, until Tibag slays the last Spider in the front and the dwarf turns and slays Arvins spider and Vinny turns to finish off the last one but...(another 1) splinters the remainder of his staff. Gedleessmote lunges at the remaining spider and (yet another....1) slips in Wolfhere's vomit and lands flat on his back in front of the remaining spider. Finally, Tibag slays the remainingspider as it's climbing up the wall.
Wolfhere and Arvin recover from their bout with spider poison but are still woozy (-2 combat penalty for 6 turns). They decide to head back to town to lick their wounds but are disappointed that they didn't pick up any loot on their first foray into the depths of the ruined tower. The companions decide to return to the room where they killed the two ghouls and burned the coffins and see if they could find anything of value. Indeed they do and recover a handful of gems and some coin.
They return to the surface and are happy to discover their mule safe and tied to the cemetery gate (having spent a mere three hours in the Underworld, one of which they spent resting).
Heading back to Caladan and threw the southern gate they notice that the town watch is a bit agitated and learn that they have been seeking the watch captain (Capt. Conik) who went missing shortly after last week's Harvest Festival along with Lord Osric's daughter. It is thought that the two were having an affair and ran off together. Furious, the leader of the Merchant Guild is having the town watch search for them.
The party heads back towards the Cloven Hoof Inn and on the way find a small shop called Master Brigham's Curiosities. Slick Vinny enters hoping to stock up on some magic scrolls he can use. Thus, Master Brigham has no scrolls to sell save a map of the area which Vinny purchases. Also, traded for first dibs on the curiosities found beneath the tower is some tobacco that can lessen the affects of poison (thanks to Thorkhammer). They also learn that six years ago, six adventures found their way beneath the tower never to return.
After some healing at the Temple of Mithra (donations accepted, of course), the party returns to the Cloven Hoof Inn to clean up and rest for the next day's return underground. It turns out the orphaned stableboy, Jack, is enthralled by the exploits of our adventures and asks if he can come along. Vinny invites him and purchases some armor and a short sword for the young lad.
After a night's rest, the party returns to the tunnels with little Jack in tow carrying the torches. They retrace their steps and continue to explore the room with the dead ghouls. Opening on door, the party discovers a flight of stairs that lead down into the darkness. The air is very dry and stale and the darkness foreboding. Thinking it best to leave that for a later foray, they head through the eastern door. Down a corridor they find a small room with an armoire of shrunken heads and magical doors that lead them back to the corridor which they entered from. After spiking the doors open, breaking the spell, they proceed east down another corridor and enter another room filled with refuse and garbage and rummaging Giant Rats. After making their way to the other side of the room, they decide to dispatch the rats and do so easily. Searching through the refuse, Jack finds the rats nest and pulls out a leather belt of one of their victims which contains a silver dagger and some more coin. Hooray for Jack!
The party enters an open tunnel and travels down a long corridor which ends at an ornately carved wooden door. Beyond the door they find a furnished room lit by four beetles with red glowing bellies in small cages suspended from the ceiling. As Wolfhere guards the door, the others explore the room. There are books and scrolls and a writing desk with parchments. Gedleessmote rolls up the ornate rug stating that everything is loot! Vinny (finally) finds his two magic scrolls. Tibag listens to the western door and beyond hears voices speaking in the common language.
And that's where the play ended. It seemed to be another good session with a lot of laughs and mystery. The randomness of the classic dungeon presents a lot of unknowns. The shrunken heads baffled the players as they tried to gather meaning from them. Really they were just there as some dungeon oddity but it still left a puzzling impression on the players. The combat where natural 1's kept coming up was a bizarre yet fun turn of events. It was an exciting battle. I felt that I rolled with the situations pretty well and that the players enjoyed when I put them into a position that they could role-play against. The battle seemed to be very chaotic and confusing instead of just hit, miss, hit, miss.
Again, the three and a half hours flew by and we really could've gone for another hour or two but it was Monday night and everyone had work in the morning.