So after a long break we've continued kind of a side quest in our Swords & Wizardry campaign. Our split party of lost and doomed adventurers weren't so doomed after all. Well, they did run into some pretty rough giant ants lead by a troll but with some luck and skill they survivied to begin making they're comeback. I'll be the first to say, however, they're not out of the woods yet! I'll get to all that in just a moment.
When you get back behind the screen after a long break you gotta shake the rust off but it doesn't take long to get back into the swing of things. And as usual, nothing goes according to what you have planned, not that I 'planned' anything specific but the players, as usual, went their own way.
Session XXXIV: Zenopus, Party Of Doom?
Skwanky Furrytoe the Halfling, Maudlin the dwarf fighter, Slick Vinny the magician and Gnarly Brunderbrush the druid (along with his two Mushroom-men and Tuk the owl) were sitting in the misty cavern of the blue lava mourning the apparent death of their long time companion Tibag. having followed the halfling through a mystic portal and realizing they were lost somewhere beneath the tower of Zenopus, they were determined to find a way out soon as their supplies were running low. They decided to trace-back their steps and look through some of the cave openings that they had passed earlier.
Backtracking up a cave they entered a small cavern, inside of which were two very hungry mules. Gnarly tried to give them some food but the starving and terrorized mules attempted to kick and bite him. But the Druid was persistent and was eventually able to calm the beasts down and fed them (thus, Gnarly became know as the ass-whisperer). The beasts had two chests tied to their back inside of which were additional supplies; torches, water, bedrolls, etc. (I kid you not, the lucky lot found a stash of supplies).
With a bit more confidence, they continued on exploring another large cavern with the giant eyeballs embedded in the floor. But instead of finding an exit they only found a troll herding a number of giant ants. When the troll saw the party enter the cavern, he maliciously threw one of his javelins at the eyeball closest to the party causing it to explode damaging our fearless explorers. The ants changed the party and a battle ensued while the Troll continued to hurl javelins.
It was looking pretty grim for our adventurers, especially the dwarf, but with the help of Vinny's magic they prevailed and then set upon the Troll which was another tough conflict. Tag-teaming, they defeated the Troll and before he rose again he was consumed with fire.
Licking their wounds they thought it best to rest and recover. Heading back to the cave with the mules the party held up for a rest, taking turns as watch.
The time passed slowly but on Gnarly's watch he heard some whispering and a bit of torch-light coming from outside the cave. Gnarly sent Tuk the owl out to investigate. Through Tuk's eyes, Gnarly was able to see a large party of pirates coming through the cave approaching their refuge.
Waking his wounded companions they readied themselves but as the pirates approached Gnarly parleyed with them. After a few tense moments tensions defused and the pirates were invited in to rest as well.
It turned out that the party of pirates, lead by One-eyed Jones (who actually still has both eyes) and Henry, had also gotten lost by passing through the very same portal that Skwanky and the others traveled through. Some of their group died by exploding eyeballs and going insane staring into them. The pirates also believed Gnarly and the others were working for the 'Dark Mistress' and were part of the collective larger plot, who along with the pirates and their mysterious Captain, threatened Caladan and Lord Osric. It was agreed upon that they would all work together to escape the dungeons.
After everyone rested the entire party (including two mushroom-men and nine pirates) made their way back into the cavern where they had fought the troll and his ants. Sending Tuk ahead to scout a couple of the exit openings, Gnarly saw another cavern filled with the eyeballs and something else. Something that resembled a giant sphincter (seriously) was on the floor of the cavern in the far corner.
Agreeing it best not to tangle with a room full of eyeballs and a giant sphincter they preceded down an alternative passage. They soon found themselves in a large man-made chamber with five stone sarcophagi! No more eyeballs!
The pirates, excited that they found some possible treasure began to open the first sarcophagus which turned out to be empty. But upon opening the second one they all backed away fearfully as inside the second sarcophagus was a skeleton wearing a golden crown and dressed in colorful robes and waving it's arms around - a lich!
With the 'lich' waving it's arms around from within it's resting place, Skwanky and the others cautiously approached and began to bash it's bones. Within moments it was dead. Scared and confused as to what the heck it really was they felt it best to leave the rest of the sarcophagi alone and move on. It was around this time that Slick Vinny charmed One-eyed Jones to help keep control over the unruly but fearful pirates.
Sending Tuk ahead once more, Gnarly relayed that ahead was another large chamber with a number of exits but was inhabited by a large number of humanoids; some sleeping and some standing watch.
What this needed was a grand plan!
It was decided that they all would sneak up and surprise these creatures. Using Tuk, the owl would drop a flask of oil upon the sleeping victims while Skwanky and a pirate, both turned invisible by Vinny, would sneak into the chamber and position themselves near the watch-guards. The rest would charge in, throwing torches and slinging spells once the creatures were alerted.
Execution: Skwanky and the pirate positioned themselves while Tuk flew into the chamber. The guards, however, were alerted to the flight of the owl and began to sound an alarm but it was too late. Vinny burst into the chamber casting light! With a bloodlust the pirates burst into the chamber flinging torches at the waking Bug-bears covered in oil, the invisible Skwanky and pirate hacking away at the guards. A massive melee ensued between the party allied with the pirates and a room full of surprised Bug-bears. Soon it was over with most of the bug-bears dead (though one, lit aflame with farie-fire fled down a hallway).
The Pirates began to loot the bodies and the party began to search the chamber....
It was a great session and I enjoyed getting back into my Swords & Wizardry campaign even for just a little bit. We'll continue these side-sessions until the fate of these companions is determined.