Three hour tour, indeed!
Thanks to Skwanky the halfling, who willy-nilly jumped through the magical portal, a beloved PC had died a horrible death while lost underground, Tibag Backstabber!
This party has had their ups and downs seeking a way out, but last night's session was a bit grim. In fact, I even killed my wife's character, Maudlin the dwarf. Well, I didn't kill her, a Gelatinous Cube did, but it brought up the moral question: Should a DM allow his wife's character to get killed?
That question and others answered in Session XXXV: From Bad To Worse!
After slaying a pack of sleeping Bugbears and looting their corpses, our party, Gnarly the Druid, Maudlin the hermaphrodite dwarf, Slick Vinny the Wizard and Skwanky the troublesome halfling and along with a handful of pirates and joined by Radius Longshadow (the racist warrior) explored the enormous chamber.
They decided to pursue the lone Bugbear that escaped when he was set alight by farie-fire. Traveling down the twenty foot wide hallway they eventually came across the frightened creature who drew it's sword to defend itself. But his bravery was short-lived as Vinny paralyzed the hapless beast with a wave of his wand.
It is then that they noticed the large cavern they were in with the facing wall a featureless gray mass unlike the rest of the cavern walls. And in that gray mass they can see things moving around - swimming. It appeared to be some kind of membrane with a view to an underground sea.
Skwanky the halfling, examining the membrane discovered it had some give. So, pulling out his sword, he attempted to pierce it to the horror of his party. Gnarly, being quick on his toes tried to hold the halfling back but Skwanky was a bit too quick and punctured the membrane. Immediately, sea-water began to pour through the ever widening hole.
Realizing the danger they were in, Gnarly, along with his Mushroom-men, and Maudlin started to hightail it back down the hall while the rest of the party chastised the curious halfling.
Back in the large chamber, Gnarly sent out Tuk the owl to explore a couple of the chamber's openings. Down one passage was what appeared to be a thick jungle. The party, together once again, headed down to the Jungle room to seek an exit. While Gnarly and Maudlin explored the jungle room, the druid was attacked by a crocodile who soon fell with a couple of hits of Maudlin's hammer.
Meanwhile, standing outside the jungle entrance, Vinny, hoping to poison the troublesome halfling tricked him into eating a mysterious vine. Indeed, the vine was poison but it failed to kill Skwanky. Instead it gave him a terrible case of the uncontrolled vomiting which eventually lead him into unconsciousness!
Vinny called out to Gnarly and said he would take a couple of the pirates and try to open the large portcullis in the back chamber in hopes of finding a way out of the ever deepening water.
Finding the portcullis locked and unable to open, Vinny cast a spell of strength on a couple of the pirates who, with the help of Maudlin, busted the lock and raised the gate. The party trudged through the flooding waste deep water and entered another wide hallway. Eventually finding that the floor began to angle out of the water the party was high and dry for the moment and in the beginnings of another large chamber.
Again sending Tuk the owl out to explore, Gnarly found that deep inside the chamber there were a number of odd, floating objects; swords, coins, shields, armor, hovering no more than ten feet off the ground. Wary of what his might mean for the party, Radius moved ahead to see what could be. Gelatinous Cubes! Three of them! However, he also discovered a large set of double doors in the distance.
Thinking it better to avoid the cubes, they retreated behind another door they had found only to discover that the passage beyond had collapsed. They were now trapped!
Impatient about their predicament, Radius burst out of the hallway and made a run for the double doors followed by Maudlin. Unfortunately they got cornered by a fourth Cube with two more on the way. With the three heading for the doorway where the rest of the party was holed up that made six Gelatinous Cubes! A dire situation indeed!
Gnarly and Vinny tried to fend off the Cube attacking the doorway flinging magic missiles and torches with some success, but Radius and Maudlin did not fare so well. Radius is quickly paralyzed and engulfed by his cube which disappeared into the darkness dissolving the flesh of the new companion. Maudlin defended herself a bit more, actually slaying one cube before succumbing to it's poisons. Soon she too was engulfed and consumed (and thus, a DM has slain his wife's character!).
Seeing their companions fall to the Cubes, Gnarly and Vinny along with the pirates burst out of the doorway to engage the Cubes. With three of the cubes lined up perfectly, Vinny decided to let loose a powerful lightening bolt he had discovered in a magic ring many months ago (see session 19) and was saving for a dire circumstance. The lightening bursts forth engulfing each of the three cubes but as the smoke clears the Gelatinous Cubes were unharmed being immune to electricity! Lesson learned!
It's a battle to the death now, as the pirates engaged along with Gnarly. Vinny, slinging spells, was joined by Skwanky who didn't know what the heck was going on.
Eventually the cubes lay dead along with many of the pirates.
Scooping up the loot, the battered party made their way to the pair of doors and discover that there was light coming from beneath. Opening the door, they discovered an odd site. Before them was a large stone chamber raised by six pillars. Standing guard by each pillar were two centaur skeletons dressed in full armor. There were a number of chairs in the room filled with an odd assortment of beings; an orc, a giant bat, a bugbear, an orchre jelly sitting on a chair, even a large gelatinous cube. One of the Skeletaurs waved his hand and offered the party to take a seat. As they waited, a door on the far wall opened and out walks a giant spider who proceeded to leave through the double doors. A voice from beyond the door shouts out "Next!" and the orc stands up and goes through....
So that's where we ended.
Quite a night. Two PC deaths including my wife's character. She was a bit shocked but took it in stride and began to roll up another character. Now that's the spirit, eh?
The other character death, Longshadow what Brian's new character he rolled up at the beginning of the session to replace his infamous Tibag Backstabber. Alas, he ended the night rolling up a new character.
Skwanky (the character) has become (actually he always was) quite the troublesome little bugger having put the party at risk in more than a few occasions. Now, he is indirectly the cause of 3 PC deaths. But it's great! Some players are beginning to stretch their concepts of what role-playing means in the game and that's a good thing.
I also got to break in my new table along with using the Jenga blocks as walls which all worked out nicely, though the snacks and beer bottles still took up most of it. I've just started breaking in the new Swords & Wizardry Core rules so I have to make a number of adjustments to some of my house rules and charts. But after that, I should be pretty set on my rules. I do not foresee having to 'upgrade' the rule-set as I'm quite happy where we're at right now.
Looking forward to our next S&W session in a couple of weeks.
Quote of the game:
"You just vomited yourself into unconsciousness!"
And now for some awesome cube action!
I love this one, especially the Halfling. Typical!