Characters: (approximate net point total)
Vryce, human knight (about 315 points)
Jon Hillman, human guard - a shieldbearer (62 points, NPC)
Al Shieldbearer, human guard - a shieldbearer (62 points, NPC)
Moe Redshirt, human guard - a crossbowman (62 points, NPC)
Grey McCape, human guard - a crossbowman (62 points, NPC)
Nakar, human wizard (about 295 points)
Inquisitor Marco, human cleric (about 280 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Galen Longtread, human scout (262 points)
Reserve (players couldn't make it)
Honus Honusson, human barbarian (283 points)
Borriz, dwarven knight (290 points)
Kullockh, human scout (250 points)
We opened as usual in Stericksburg.
The group did their usual routine - hunting down potions, carousing, gathering rumors, and general prep. Satisfied with the results of the hireling hiring from last time, they found the same four hirelings and paid them for another trip.
They also did some shopping, getting some flammable oil (in case stuff needed burning) and some shovels for their henchmen.
The group headed up the mountain, arriving a bit after noon in the face of some tough winds (game-world weather matches real-world weather, and Hurricane Sandy's leading winds were already blowing things around by us). They spent the day digging up the rocks covering the trap door they'd found in their first trip to Felltower. Not wanting to deal with a ghost at their backs at night, they went back to camp.
Said ghost did, in fact, make itself known. The watchers heard moaning at night, but the ghost didn't bother them and they didn't bother it.
In the morning, they opened up the trapdoor - Vryce did it, hoping that leaving the trap door they'd found unlocked last session would mean no black lightning this time. He was correct - this trap door did lead down, and it was safe to open. They climbed down and secured the bottom.
The quickly found the place where the secret doors were, and after some fiddling opened them - it took time without See Secrets, but they knew they were there. They went through, found the room with the trap door, opened it up, and went down.
They tried the nearer of the trapdoors, but it was stuck. So Vryce crowbarred it open, and managed to force it despite it being bolted shut from below. PIIIINNNNNG! His great leverage and strength (ST 17) and a great roll (5 on 3d) broke the bolt. They pulled the "door" aside and realized it was a plug of stone, obviously dug from above to below, later than the rest of the dungeon so far. Galen squeezed in and looked - he could see a hallway leading south, with doors along the sides.
They pounded in an iron spike and dropped some rope to climb down. It was only 10', but they wanted to secure their retreat.
They systematically moved down the hallway, checking the rooms on the sides. They noted the exacting similarity to the level above, in the rooms they'd found the wights. At this point getting joined by latecoming Nakar*.
The first pair of rooms were empty. The second included one with a potion vial labeled "healing," complete with the proper markings for a Minor Healing potion on it, sitting in the middle of the floor. Keen-eyed Galen noted the stone it sat on had been recently worked at, and then scuffed up and covered with dust to make it look like the others. Nakar checked it, and decided to grab the potion. So he cast Apportation on it, backed up, and floated it over to himself. No problem. They couldn't leave well enough alone, though, and started to push and pry at the stone. SPROOOOIIIINNG! As Vryce dug at the edge with his crowbar, the slate slammed up into the ceiling and broke. Underneath was a small hollow with a metal baseplate and a bent metal strap "spring" set to launch the floor stone into the ceiling. At the sound of this, they heard a door open and another slam closed. By the time Galen looked down the hallway with Dark Vision on, he could see nothing else.
They searched the next pair, and found a pool of what looked like mercury in the corner of one (but they couldn't figure out how to safely remove it) ("What do you do in the lab in real life?" "We call hazmat.") The other had a chest, which open examination was a) brand new, b) trapped with stubby little poisoned needles in the lock and one handle, and c) was empty once pried open with a crowbar. Nothing under it either.
The next pair had an empty room with food wrappers (cloth from preserved food from the local suppliers) and a couple empty wineskins (one still leaking wine). The other was locked, and a door south out of this hallway was wedged shut from outside. They dealt with the padlocked door first. Nakar Lockmastered it open, and inside they found a chest. It wasn't trapped, and when opened had a mail shirt in great condition, 500 cp, and 200 sp, as well as a bottled marked with a skull-and-crossbones ("A Potion of Piracy!" - actually, it turned out later to be elfbane poison). They took the loot and turned to the other door. Clearly they'd been heard (guys in plate pounding spikes aren't stealthy) so they took their time. Inq. Marco tried talking to the people on the other side of the door, but no answer. So Vryce wedged out the wedge with his crowbar, and they shoved the door open. Corridor left and right. The went right.
They basically went a short distance and found another corridor lined with rooms, this time with doors alternating sides instead of lined up in pairs. They moved in, busted up the nearest door, and got jumped by six norkers (my favorite humanoids). Vryce (as he would all night) rolled badly on initiative, and they got struck first. He took a hit from a norker's axe but his layered armor (thanks to his knight's Armor Master perk) saved him. They quickly fought back, while their invisible scout Galen back up into the hallway. The norkers kept yelling something in their goblin dialiect** and another door opened and six more big norkers piled out, also armed with axes. Four more followed shortly after from down the halway. The PCs killed two norkers and wounded another when they heard someone yelling "Hey, humans!
The owner of that voice turned out to be a gnome - a little guy wearing armor, a tricked-out crossbow (crossbow sling, rest, site, etc.), and a multitude of weapons. They started to talk to him. Long story short, he said he was from out of town, but had been dropping into and out of the dungeons for a while "trapping for goblins . . . well, hobgoblins anyway." He'd set traps, you see, and then bait them, then come back to see what he'd nailed. He claimed to make a good enough living at it, even though he used to have to pay the ogres and their apes to let him come down to level two (until somebody killed them). Asked about his norkers, he said they were his. How much does he pay them? "Well, I don't exactly pay them. I bought them off some guys, I didn't ask where they got them." "And you feed them and they're happy?" "They could be happy, sure."
Inq. Marco negotiated with him for an equal share of treasure if he wanted to come along, but in the end the gnome - named Gnobit Gnortz - declined. He'd stay in his area, and trap for goblins, and if he changed his mind he'd leave a note here or find them in town. Inq. Marco told him to leave a note in church. The gnome cheerfully told them what to expect when they headed back the other direction, and then they peacefully parted ways. Before they left, the two wounded but still living norkers got tapped with Inq. Marco's Staff of Healing as a peace gesture.
The PCs went back the other way, and started checking some double-doored rooms.
First one, empty, although the privy was full of old waste. Nakar argued someone (someone else) needed to search it. He'd argue that every privy all session.
Second room - they heard moaning, so they got ready for undead. Vryce finally decided to try the undead-bane talismans they'd found, and put all three on his sword (where they must remain until the sword is destroyed). They busted it open and found . . . druagr!
Dead northerners with axe, shield, and broadsword, wearing tattered mail and pot helms and pretty damn grumpy about being bothered.
Vryce and Raggi waded in as Inq. Marco turned them, keeping them back quite a ways from him. Vryce found his sword did indeed hurt undead, but normal weapons hurt these guys anyway. However, they took a heck of a lot of killing. Inq. Marco shouted out they were vulnerable to fire, but too late for Nakar as he'd already started charging up a stone missile. Galen shot one a few times, but they kept blocking his arrows until they got tied up in melee. Raggi got sliced badly and went berserk. The NPC hirelings stayed out of the fight, covering the flanks.
They found out the undead-killing tassles worked pretty well. Three together were +3 damage, and a roll of 3-4 means 3x damage (so a 3 is max damage x 3). This helped, because draugr are extremely hard to kill - Vryce sliced one for triple damage and a ridiculous damage roll and it kept coming for another handful of hits. But Nakar was able to torch one down with a fireball, Raggi put paid to another, and Vryce dropped another two. Inq. Marco's turning helped the most - the druagr were kept 8 hexes from him, so greatsword and long axe wielding Vryce and Raggi mostly stayed out of the undead's shorter sword and axe reach and diced them up. It wasn't always the case, and Raggi got hit again, but that's all they managed.
After putting them down, they looted them (taking their still-good swords, axes, and pot helms) and checked the room.
Next room they found the skeletons and battle fragments of a group of humans, two smaller guys (unknown type), and a dwarf, all lacking valuables . . . and lacking skulls. Again, no loot.
Final room was equally empty except for a dead strix in the empty privy pit.
They searched the dungeon a bit more, finding the mysterious black hemisphere room from last session. They headed past that and left, to an area they hadn't searched before too much. They found a few things:
- an empty small (well, 20 x 40) room
- another empty small room, this time with a hollow floor. Glasswall revealed stone spikes below, so they didn't mess with it - clearly a trapped/pit room.
- a third small room, this one with a chest in it. The chest was iron, carved with gargoyles, and a mouth-shaped lock. It bit their crowbar when they tried to open it, so they Lockmastered it and tried again. Once open, they found 666 copper pieces, 66 big gems (turned out to be only 10 sp each, oh well), and a scroll of leather. Nakar read it . . . and found it was cursed. He became giddily euphoric, but didn't want to be "cured" - he felt happy and great! The lettering had faded from the scroll, but that was of little importance! He took it anyway! Aren't happy adventurers great?!
Next room was on the other side, double doored. When opened, it was an exact duplicate of the illusion-filled "luxury" room from last session, which sits next to it. They checked it, although no one searched the privy despite Nakar's urging, and it was equally mysterious to them - nothing to be found.
The checked one last small room, and it had glowing but small runes on the far wall. Nakar entered, as did Vryce, while Inq. Marco, Raggi, and Galen entered but hung back near the door. The NPCs stayed outside, watching both directions, with orders to come in if they saw anything.
As Nakar tried to read the writings, he realized they were equally real runes and nonsense. Hey . . .
Suddenly the door banged shut, everyone's vision warped, and there was a stomach-wrenching shift.
They found themselves on the surface, in the main hall of the ruined castle above! A couple guys (Galen, Nakar, and Raggi) all failed their HT checks by enough to vomit, and puked up food, beer, and everything else. Inq. Marco and Vryce were okay. They realized they'd been teleported. They waited for 30 minutes for their hirelings to show up, but nothing. Seeker attempts by Nakar on three of them failed.
In the face of rising winds and coming bad weather, and over the repeated protests of "Never Leave A Man Behind!" Vryce, they headed back to town. Next time, they'll come back and find out what happened.
Did the hirelings enter the room and find themselves teleported elsewhere?
Did they fear to enter, and try to find their way back but run afoul of something or someone else?
Are they still down there, waiting, but unable to be magically sought due to the layers of magic-resistant barriers in the dungeons?
No one really wanted to leave them, but it was late in the real world so we had to stop, so they had to be left.
* Amusingly we play at Nakar's player's house, but he was off being Uncle Nakar in the morning so he arrived late. Presumably he followed a trail of breadcrumbs or ration wrappers.
** Goblins apparently speak Goblinistani, since they come from Goblininistan.
- Again, Undead vs. Inq. Marco = undead lose. Undead vs. everyone else but no Inq. Marco = tough fight.
- Most of the worry about using the undead-bane tassles was, "but this sword is worth 9 gold, so I should use these on a cheaper weapon or save them for a better weapon." I don't get the logic, but whatever.
- I won't penalize the PCs with Sense of Duty for leaving the hirelings behind, because I made them not go back down into the dungeon after them because I needed to go home and do storm prep. Not their decision.
- We had our usual "make fun of the map" fun. We have one professional artist drawing sometimes (Kullochk's player), and one backup (Nakar's player - Nakar actually does the mapping). The confusion over map sheets, which sheet lines up where, why Nakar's player doesn't draw the room contents into the rooms in perfectly legible pictures like Kullochk's player does, etc. - fun, fun, fun.
- barely profitable session, even with the lost retainers carrying some of the loot. Oh well, these happen. It was fun though.