February 17th, 2013
Characters: (approximate net point total)
Borriz, dwarven knight (310 points)
Christoph, human scout (250 points)
Chuck Morris, human martial artist (250 points)
Dryst, halfling wizard (251 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (281 points)
Vryce, human knight (about 325 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Still in town:
Honus Honusson, human barbarian (292 points)
The group organized in Stericksburg, as usual. Everyone was flush with cash (the vets) or just arrived in town (the new guys), so everyone got a rumor. They heard some interesting stuff. Christoph met a guy whose cousin saw some cone-hatted closed-mouth folks out by his farm to the East, and Dryst heard that a dragon was put on to of the mountain to keep the vampire wizard-elves in the deeps from coming up to kill everyone. Also, Red Raggi showed up with a fragment of a map. (Players: Hey, he spilled coffee on it. Me: It's cold out and I have sensitive smoke detectors, I couldn't char it.) It seemed show a bit of an area by the long corridor and the fire-men, but with an extended space on it.
They headed up cross Stone Bridge across the Silver River, past Sterick's Landing and the statue of Sterick the Red, up past the drifting snow, in the face of harsh, harsh winds, to the summit of the low mountain. They searched the grounds and found that a lot of traffic - at least six people, including possibly one woman or kid ("Hey, it was bring your kid to work day!") - had gone through. Especially around the well entrance and around the tower.
They went for the well. Christoph, the new scout (Kullockh's half-brother), tried to climb down. He blew his Climbing roll and started to fall. I gave him a Strength check to hold onto the rope, and he blew that. He fell and hurt his arm. Meanwhile the vets all looked down and shook their heads. Amusingly they then decided not to go in this way.
(He'd later get MVP for providing a lot of amusement at his own expense)
Then they reconsidered and went for the tower entrance, and found it locked. They couldn't decide if they'd locked it or not.
They went back to the well and down. They meandered around, trying to work their way towards the trap door to level 2. They eventually did. On the way Borriz looked up in one room and spotted an oddly smooth section of ceiling. Shape Earth moved it away, and they found a hollow space with a bag of 200 sp in it. First score.
Once they found their way to the trap door room, as they call it, they heard a garbled conversation to the north. They set an ambush, waiting for the "rival adventurers" to arrive. What came instead was a gelatinous, oozing creature, all eyes and fanged mouths. Its mad talking was just barely seemingly-understandable, and it managed to daze a couple people. Meanwhile it spit a hole in Vryce's armor and burned his skin. It didn't last long, though, as Raggi whacked it hard while berserk and it simply exploded. Flying tooth shrapnel and a big blast knocked Raggi out, and mildly wounded a few others. Borriz fed Raggi a healing potion to get him up (20HP = 2x effect from potions, which is handy) and then climbed down to the next level.
They decided to avoid the chiming trapdoor from last time, and instead took the other trap door. Vryce tried to open it but something dissolved the metal on his gauntlets and much of the leather and poisoned him, but he shrugged it off. He dropped down and landed on some poisoned caltrops, but his heavy boots saved him (even Vryce can barely hurt Vryce - he's a tank*).
They cleared the caltrops and moved on, trying to map more of level 2. But they passed a previously-cleared room and found fresh greenish blood drops - orc blood! So they snuck up (even the tanks have good Stealth), forced open the door and went in. Beyond it was a rough camp, and three orcs and an ogre. Borriz reacted immediately, throwing his crowbar at the ogre (!). He hit it easily, since he's ridiculously skilled, and badly wounded the ogre. The group charged. A few arrows, a couple of sword chops (and one greataxe slice across Chuck Morris's chest) and the orcs and ogre were dead. They found no money, but did note the orcs and ogre had some wounds to their faces and one to his unarmored arm. Further, there were sleeping spots for 5 orcs but only 3 were they.
A few rooms later they found out. A room had had its door hacked down, and inside were a bunch of stirges. They'd found a dead strix or two on this level, but clearly more came. They tried to sneak by but their lights gave them away, and the stirges stirred. So they ran (believe it or not). They ran deeper into the dungeon and closed a door behind them, and went exploring.
They explored the cold room they'd ignored earlier. Borriz braved it, armed with the flaming broadsword from the wight's crypt in B2. The room chilled him to the bone, but it didn't hurt him, so he searched around. He got colder, and then decided to leave the room. Nothing of interest was discovered.
Next, they headed up the wide corridor, re-mapping some areas they'd been before they lost their maps. In this area they found a place that look like Raggi's map ("I got it off some drunk for a drink. Maybe. I was pretty drunk too."**) So they started tapping walls and found one of them was an illusion. Some experimentation found it was 50' long, and behind it was a smoke-filled dark room. Purify Air and moving in with light sources showed it to be 50' wide and 40' deep, with three staircases running in parallel down to another level. They started to investigate on the right.
They went down and found a deeply dusty corridor turning off to the right with a black six-fingered handprint on it. Off the corridor were 30' deep 8' tall alcoves filled with niches, each holding an urn. The corridors were thick with dust, and they quickly realized much was the dust of the dead. Some broken urns were in evidence. They eventually broke some open and found they had a copper passage coin in each, etched with strange writing and with a six-fingered hand on the face and a skull on the obverse. It said (thanks to Gift of Letter, itself thanks to Wild Talent) "Passage" and "Death" on it. They took them.
A quick count showed that each alcove/short corridor (which ended with a blank wall with a red six-fingered handprint on it) had 300 urn in it. AKA 30 sp worth of coins if they busted them all. They found a 5' rough tunnel at the end of another corridor but no sign of what made it. More investigation let them to a turn to the left and a corridor with a busted up skeleton in it, with no boots, rotted clothes, and a sledgehammer head (but no handle) and a rusty knife. They poked around and heard stone crunching noises ahead. They set an ambush for what they expected - a golem. It was a stone golem with a flail. It barely got a swing in before it was smashed and chopped and bashed to pieces.
More searching found its pedestal, another tunnel connecting to the little one they'd found, and a total of 8 more side corridors. All together that was 11 x 300 = 3300 niches, most of them with a "Lesser Brother" or someone even less than that in them.
They headed back and into the central staircase. At the bottom them found a big, big room. In it were 33 sarcophagi, all white-washed and marked with a red symbol of Sterick (crossed sword and axe over a tower) and an individual symbol. Jackpot! This was Lord Verrick's long-sought relative, or at least he was somewhere. They investigated carefully, but as they moved near the center-most sarcophagi, they heard stone grinding. They immediately ran for the entrance, hoping to establish a non-surrounded position. They just barely made it (the slow guys did it with a second to spare). 33 druagr stood up. Not just draugr but Sterick's personal guard, with mail, well-madeaxes and swords, spears and shields. They advanced, quickly forming into a shield wall with swords or axes in front and spears in the back. The ground found they wouldn't advance past the threshold, though. So they back off and back up a level.
They decided to carefully check the third area. They did. It was guarded by a stone golem, which Borriz knocked flat and then Vryce broke up. They found more niches . . . but these were almost 30" by 30" and all capped with stone. They started to break them open - actually, Chuck Morris punched one to crack it and let Borriz pry the pieces off with his "throwbar." each had a skull on top with a pair of silver eye-coins, and a gold passage coin. Dryst read them - same as the copper. But the urns said a name and "By the Brotherhood, Let Me Pass" on them as well as "Greater Brother" on them. They found four passages like this, mostly full. They also found another tunnel like the one on the right side. They basically started to break up the niches and loot them. They found a lot of loot this way.
Meanwhile Dryst used Shape Earth to seal that tunnel, after they'd felt some warmth and heard crunching noises. But almost as soon as he'd done it, he heard more crunching and scratching, on the other side of the seal! They worked quickly and looted the rest. Vryce grabbed two intact urns with their skulls and kept them. They know a necromancer (well, Vryce's player has one) and they want to enlist his help in talking to the dead.
Long story short at this point, they looted the whole section - it took a few hours - then headed back to the surface. They made it back safely, although (and I forgot to say this at the session) it was after dark so they needed to camp out near town until the am when the gates opened up.
Again, a profitable session, and now they're well on their way to solving a bit of a side quest.
* Not the MMORPG sense. I don't play those, so my terminology is more plain that that. He's like an M1A1HA Abrams.
** Chuck Morris's player remarked "Raggi sure does live a happy life, doesn't he?" He does. Beer, women, plunder. Run out of plunder, go get more and spend it on beer and women.
Christoph is an exact clone of Kulloch at 250 points. Fair enough. Even John Woo pulls that crap.
Dryst made a copy of the map and left it in his room at the inn. Good idea.
I forgot to ask about using the dungeon with other people. The phrase "we can hunt other adventurers" came up, so maybe they aren't friendly sharing types.
Amusingly, I just filled in #28 on the 30 rumors list as "Never trust a found map." Immediately someone rolled it. Heh, nice luck. It fit, even if the map they got was accurate. I figured it would either come up immediately or six months from now.
Chuck Morris is an oddity. He's an armored martial artist, with Gigantism - he's 7' 5", 275, and uses a light horse cutter (a big naginata looking polearm), and wears a black belt. We're using a 100 Kingdoms wuxia warrior mini painted caucasian for him - not on a flying base, though. I dared him to make a trademark "crane kick" and offered him an extra +1 to hit if he does it. He hasn't yet taken me up on this.
Throwing the crowbar? I called it -2 for throwing a non-throwing weapon, -2 for a non-weapon, and -4 for range. Still an easy hit for Borriz, with his Pickaxe Penchant 4, DX 14, and lots of points in his combat skills.
The idea of burial niches that take time to loot is a bit of an homage to Barrowmaze, and it's an homage to that and the similar section (similar to me, anyway) in T1.
Finally, I love that the players figured they'd have to fight 50 wights to recover the remains and grave goods of Lord Verrick's ancestor. Well, how about 33 giant druagr warriors? Not a man of them under 6'6", and armed and armored for war. Should be fun when the PCs return.