..of carpets, apes and wizards!
(quick campaign doodles by Mike Moran)
This session saw the introduction of a new player, Zach, to our group playing Skwanky Furrytoe, the halfling fighter . So we are up to 6 players and myself. The dice rolled much more in the players favor than in previous sessions and they even walked away with a good handful of loot. This session took place entirely within the dungeon and had a bit more physical action, none of which limited any of the role-playing.
Arvin Ardmore - Acolyte of Mithra played by Corey
Gedleessmote Hammersend - Veteran Dwarf Warrior played by Clay
Wolfhier - Viking Veteran from the North played by Mike
Tibag Backstabber - Elf (half-elf) Rogue played by Brian
Slick Vinny - Human Medium played by Max
Skwanky Furrytoe - Halfling Veteran played by Zach
Jack (NPC) Stableboy, Torch-bearer
and a Mule.
Our last session left our party of intrepid adventures exploring an oddly furnished room beneath the ruined tower of Zenopus. Wolfhier was guarding the door they came in from, while the rest of the group looted the chamber. Gedleesmote rolled up the ornate carpet, while Arvin and Slick Vinny looted the bookshelves and writing desk. Tibag, while listening to the western door heard voices on the other side.
They debated a bit on what to do and soon decided to try to draw the occupants out. Everyone gathered along the walls by the door to surprise whomever was on the other side and Tibag cracked the door slightly to peer in. He saw another lit chamber and in the distance three unmoving figures. But the voices weren't coming from those figures, the voices were coming from a portion of the room around the corner from the door. He heard three distinct voices, murmuring about the city of Caladan, Lord Osric and the Merchant Guild, and a payment of sorts. The game is, indeed, afoot!
Tibag turns to tell his comrades just as the voices stop. Bursting into the door way was a burly Buccaneer in Chainmail wielding a sword! Slick Vinny, in an uncharacteristically not so slick manner, yells something about having the gold for the payment but the Buccaneer just calls them thieves and rushes in to attack. The stout dwarf Gidleesmote blocked the doorway and the two go at it while Tibag tried to get a couple of arrows off without hitting the dwarf. Wolfhier came rushing in to aid his companions. After a brief melee, the pirate lay dead and the dwarf near death. Arvin aids Gidlee with one of two healing potions he received from his order.
Upon entering the chamber expecting to confront more foes, the party finds a deserted room. Only three very lifelike stone statues (leaving the party to believe that there may be a Basilisk hovering around), a table full of alchemical equipment, a couple of chairs, a very large sack and a hanging tapestry. Tibag looks behind the tapestry for a door only to find a blank wall. Arvin and Vinny gathered the items on the table and found a scroll. Wolfhier guarded an open passage to the west while examining the statues when he heard a slow shuffling coming down the corridor. Seeing a sole Zombie and feeling frustrated in his lack of usefulness in combat, Slick Vinny grabbed a torch from the wall and rushed over to burn the creature. Surprisingly, the Zombie lashed out at the rushing wizard and deals him a devastating blow leaving him unconscious and very close to death! Wolfhier rushes the Zombie and decapitates it while Arvin uses the last of the healing potion bringing the Magic-user back from the brink!
While this is going on, Gidleesmote opens the sack to find a neat little halfling warrior who introduces himself as Skwanky Furrytoe. It seems that Skwanky had been drugged and shanghaied from the Green Dragon Inn and brought aboard a ship! After a couple of days in the hold, he was shoved into a sack (a very insulting predicament!), placed upon a small dingy and rowed to what sounded like a cave. He was dragged around until he ended up in this chamber with the three voices. The first had a thick accent from the southern Desert kingdoms, the second was more aristocratic and from Caladan, while the third didn't say much but was gruff, short and spoke in the dialect of a Buccaneer.
Not having the slightest clue to where he is at, Skwanky decides to join up with the party.
Tibag finds a hidden latch which opens a secret door. After Gedleesmote rolls up the tapestry along with his carpet the party enters the long narrow passageway which ends against a wall. Another search reveals another hidden door.
Beyond the door the behold a strange site. A lit circular room with a polished black solid stone alter in the center of carved runes on the floor. A stairwell spiraled up around the room to a hatch in the ceiling. Arvin examines the alter while the party moves up the stairs. Suddenly, a giant snake rises up from behind the alter and lunges at the cleric. A battle ensues and is ended when Wolfheir swinging with his battle axe split the snake's skull.
It appeared that the hatch was locked and after Tibag failed to open it, Wolfheir and Gedlee used their backs to bust open the hatch. In the round chamber above, they found a sparsly furnished living area, cooking pot, cot, etc. and a latched door leading outside. Another staircase lead upwards to another wooden hatch.
Climbing the stairs (while Skwanky searches the cooking pot for food) and coming to the trap door, Tibag opens it and pops his head in. Unbeknownst, to the rest of the party, the thief is put under a charm spell by the dark wizard in the room above and is whispered a command to get the others out of the tower. Tibag tries to pursued the party that there is nothing up there but an empty room and that they should just leave. The others know something is up with the thief but don't quite know what to do. This threw everybody into a confusion. Tibag wouldn't let anyone up the stairs.
Now wait, you're probably saying. I thought Tibag was an elf and is immuned to charm and sleep spells. I would say you are right, but it turns out that Tibag isn't a full fledged elf after all. It was a happy accident as that was the players intention with the character and my forgetting the elf/charm rule. It actually all worked out for the game and the player.
After much debate and argument, the party ventured outside. Geddlee said that he would climb up the tower. Tibag pointed out that, being a dwarf it would be quite hard for him to do that, so the thief volunteered (the player, Brian, did a great job playing the role of the charmed Tibag). Tibag climbed up the tower, over the ruined parapet and then disappeared on the other side! More party confusion as the whereabouts of their comrade, Tibag, was unknown. After more argument and debate it was decided that the only option was to burst through the trap door and face whatever danger was in there and try to get their companion back.
Back inside the tower they climbed the stairs and tried to open the trap door only to find it locked. The dwarf and the viking started splintering the door with their axes. Then Gedleesmote, sticking his head through the portal sees an odd site; another round chamber with stairs leading up to another hatch, a large gorilla in a cage, Tibag targeting him with an arrow and a robed magician hurling a magic missile at the dwarfs face. The dwarf tumbles back onto the stairs, wounded but alive.
The party decides that there is no other option to save Tibag but to just storm up into the chamber and take what is dished out at them. While Slick Vinny prepares a sleep scroll, Wolfheir and Arvin rush up into the chamber. Tibag lets loose an arrow at the Viking while the wizard unlocks the cage, releasing the ape. Wolfheir rushes the ape while Arvin charges the wizard who dodges the blow and sticks a dagger into the clerics ribs. Tibag lets fly another arrow at his viking friend but misses, and hitting the ape, killing it. Vinny finally gets his head up into the chamber, reads his scroll and puts the wizard to sleep.
After binding the wizard they searched the room finding a couple of spell books, a scroll, another map and a wand. Tibag, now released from the wizard's charms, and Slick Vinny question the sorcerer about the where-abouts of Lord Osric's daughter. He reveals that she may be somewhere near-by and that Captain Conik is the one that kidnapped her. Beyond that he would not say much else but insult and doom the party. Frustrated with the lack of information, Slick Vinny murders the wizard in cold blood angering Tibag who wanted to deal with the wizard himself and who is a bit confused by being susceptible to a charm spell even though he believes himself to be an elf.
The session ended with Wolfheir, upon the roof of the ruined tower spotting a ship off in the distance, Giddleesmote trying to figure out how much the ape cage might be worth, Skwanky searching the chamber for any food, Arvin, battered and wounded, and Tibag and Slick Vinny not on the best of terms and little Jack watching all the events with glee!
I didn't feel I was in my best form that evening, I was a bit tired, but the players seemed to have loved the session. There was more action and the players were getting confident with their rolling of the dice. The charmed character and battle with the wizard was a memorable highlight from the session that provided some great role-play, suspense, strategy and problem solving. The characters are starting to develop a bit more depth and the 'story' is just developing itself. A couple of near death experiences keep the PC cautious but they are beginning to realize they have to take some chances to get some rewards.