Weather: Cool, clear.
Alaric, human scout (250 points)
Hasdrubul Stormcaller, human wizard (296 points)
Hjalmarr Holgerson, human knight (320 points)
Brother Ike, human initiate (160 points)
Antonios, Demitios, and Leonitus of Meepos, human spearmen (?? points)
Farmer Gam, human witchhunter (?? points)
Ken Shabby, human "wizard" (?? points)
Louis, human halberdier (62 points)
Mo (his momma call him Kle), human barbarian (316 points)
Orcish Bob, not-an-orc orcish warrior (~125 points)
Quenton Gale, human druid (300 points)
We started in town, gathering rumors and whatnot. But first we had to deal with fallout from the previous session - who had what loot?
Mo received the Iron Ring of Endurance, and got it charged up. Dryst was holding the Minor Ring of Wishing but turned it over to Hasdrubul because he was going out of town, and Has' also got the Necklace of Fireballs. Mo mounted the Gem of True Healing in his beard for light. The Ring of Protection went to Hjalmarr, because he could use a resistance boost. So, a few days after the last session ended, he popped it on. And dropped to the floor, instantly stone dead.
Brother Ike ran to get the others, and brought them to Mr. Holgerson's room. They couldn't get the ring off, it was hexed to his finger. Has' suggested hacking it off but that got shot down - they'd need to regrow it or re-attach it. So they decided to bring him to the temple. The clerics tried to remove the ring with Remove Curse but it was stubborn - the cursed ring had Hex-20. The PCs had them try again . . . and again. They got off three more castings that succeeded but couldn't overcome the ring's curse. The head priest refused to do a fourth. So they cut off Hjalmarr's finger, cored it out to get the ring off of it . . . and had him Resurrected and then his finger Instant Regenerated (for some reason, Mo kept the mangled finger.) Hjalmarr had to wake up alive in the church's infirmary, much broker than before.
They spent the week gathering rumors, hunting for a cutpurse (they didn't find one), Raggi (he wasn't there), and some professional hirelings. They found a few - the Meeposian brothers and Orcish Bob. (I couldn't find Melchior's mini, so they couldn't find Melchior the Malevolent.) They also picked up some volunteers - a self-proclaimed "wizard" called Ken Shabby, Farmer Gam the Witchhunter, and Louis the Halberdier. Louis was actually on duty all day, but he said they never come and check on his post so he may as well be up in Felltower so long as no one tells his officer. The PCs agreed and took them all. Lucky for all of them, Hjalmarr had met a scout earlier in the week and convinced him pickings were good up in Felltower so he joined as well.
The group stocked up on winter clothing and headed out to Felltower. They worked their way around to the dragon cave and in.
Once in, they moved towards the peaceful pool room to grab some magical mushrooms. Naturally, they got kind of lost on the way. They'd seen some slime on the floor ahead and Gale identified it as sessile but ravenously flesh-dissolving. They tried to avoid it and got turned around.
Gale bailed them out with Pathfinder and they realized they'd just gotten turned around on the way back from the slime. They blundered into an encounter, as well - an earth elemental came out of the darkness and pursued them, and they turned and fought it. It was big and strong but couldn't manage to do much before it got hacked apart, although it bounced some arrows and sword blows first.
They eventually made it to the pool room. Once in the pool room, they ate mushrooms, drank the Essential Water that was there, and Mo swiped the last one each of the yellow-tinged and purple-tinged mushrooms and ate them, gaining Dark Vision and some resistance to poison. They took three of four remaining red-tinged ones (although they never did remember to use them) and headed out.
They moved around the slime but couldn't do much to avoid it - it covered the stair bottom. So they tried Freeze on it and found that made it inert enough to walk on, and did that. They climbed up the stairs to the tiled room above.
There they found they had a missing map, and spent a good 10-15 minutes sorting through the mass of maps given to them by Dryst before they got back on track. They found their way to a rubble-choked stairs and started to dig it out. They decided Silence would help. Has' asked Ken Shabby if he knew that spell. Ken nodded sagely and showed the OK sign. "Cast it." Ken quietly mimed, "Shhh!"
They pretty much made Mo dig for a while, aided by Farmer Gam, and then swapped to Hajlmarr. It took more than an hour to clear the filled stairs enough to crawl over, but as soon as that was done someone lobbed in an Explosive Fireball and burned Farmer Gam and Hajlmarr. They cleared out and sent Has' up, and he ate the blast radius of another Explosive Fireball before he could lay down a Stench to clear the room. Mo and Hjalmarr tumbled into the room next, and Has' dropped his spell as they declared it clear. The party came in and chopped down a door-turned-mantlet that blocked the doorway, and then spent another hour holding the room while people cleared a better path back.
By this time, both of the mushroom effects on Mo ran out.
The PCs advanced into the dungeon, taking arrow fire at most corners. They found the way to the Orc Hole had been recently blocked off with rubble fill, so they decided to go to "the Lord of Spite's apartment" and "explore the rest of the area." They headed that way, again, taking arrows often as they moved. One of the Meeposian brothers took a poisoned arrow in the arm, but otherwise they made out okay and made it to the red-hand print marked metal door. They opened it up, tentatively moved in, and then down the stairs, closing the door behind.
At the bottom, they formed up and moved into the area and headed left. They heard the click of a door (or at least, Alaric did) and moved into a hexagonal room.
Last time they'd gone left, so this time they went right, forcing the door open and moving past. They reached an intersection. Straight ahead they decided probably went to the Lord of Spite. To the left, who knew?
But Alaric spotted a thread of a tripwire diagonal across the hall - so someone coming from straight would trip it but you could turn left in safety with ease. They moved ahead slowly, and found the thread lead to a 600+ pound giant double siege crossbow with thick bolts aimed around chest level or so. It was closer to the right wall than the left, again indicating it was meant to nail someone coming from opposite the way they came.
They were making a lot of noise, here - long discussions, walking back and forth, etc. nevermind having forced a door they heard close, indicating someone or something had gone through it. They sent Gale and Hjalmarr up to the crossbow to check it - it had two bolts laid in, had clearly been cranked recently (no sign of wear from being cranked too long), and was deadman switched to launch. Gale tried to disarm but bobbled the trigger too much, setting it off. Two bolts snapped out, clacked into the far wall hard enough to shed splinters, bursting into flame (probably Flaming Missile.) This was loud, too.
They started to hear noise themselves - as the crossbow trap went off they hear a yowl and then a surpressed yowl. Then scrapes and reptilian hisses. And then more yowling and growling and armor noises - like dogs, perhaps, and lizards. It built over time, and then they started to hear low barks, more hisses, armor and weapon noises, steady bangs, etc.
Was someone trying to summon the Lord of Spite? Uh-oh.
They decided to back off and go find somewhere else to explore (a choice they'd realize later was odd and flawed). After a few minutes, they decided where to go. So they ran back to the hexagonal room, leaving a Pollen Cloud behind, and closing the door. They set up to watch the corridor "south" and one or two of the volunteers to watch the back door, and opened the door they'd gone down last time they explored this way.
They saw a group of gnolls and hyenas heading at them - clearly, they'd been outflanked. Mo and Hjalmarr moved to block the doorway, Alaric shooting past them at a gnoll, but getting blocked, and then Hjalmarr pitching his axe at the same one, missing him as he Dodged but slamming into the next one, dropping him stunned and badly wounded.
The gnolls rushed them. Gale put up a Pollen Cloud (which caused a few missed attacks and defenses, actually) in the hallway. The NPCs, except for the Meeposian brothers, rushed in to back up Mo and Hjalmarr. Ken started chanting weird words in a deep voice.
For a few seconds the fight was going okay but not well - Mo and Hjalmarr hurt some gnolls, and knocked one cold, as they forced their way into close combat. The hyenas tried to rush them down and/or Evade but couldn't manage well enough. But Farmer Gam and Louis crammed in to stab gnolls (and did so well) and Hjalmarr and Mo stepped back to clear space to swing . . . allowing the gnolls and hyenas to continue to press.
Just then the other door was kicked open - by an Ogre!
Has' turned and zapped him with Lightning and stunned him badly and then moved to retreat, calling for the Meeposian brothers to turn. They did, forming up in a shield wall.
More ogres charged in - four more, accompanied by six fire slorn!
Only four and four could fit in, but they did, roasting Alaric's leg and Farmer Gam's arm (crippling it briefly) and lighting them on fire. Alaric managed to shoot at a slorn but it dodged. Gale was forced back after failing to Pollen Cloud them and barely avoiding breaking his staff parrying a giant club.
Has' tried Wall of Lightning to electrocute oncoming gnolls but blew the roll. Mo and Hjalmarr fought on, Mo smashing a hyena's skull and Hjalmarr badly wounding a gnoll that refused to just drop. Hjalmarr was critically hit, too, with a 3 landing a morningstar blow to his neck. He wobbled but didn't fall and wounded that gnoll badly in return.
Ken Shabby stepped up to one of the ogres and yelled, "DIE!"
Nothing happened. Has' considered stopping to cast Identify Spell but decided not to.
At this point, the line was pressured from both sides and was breaking. An ogre smashed Orcish Bob down after he tried to keep them off of Alaric, knocking him on his back. Another one smashed Ken with a maul for 21 damage. Ken had 0 DR and 8 HP, went to -13, and with HT 11 rolled a 15 on his death check. He dropped dead.
Gnolls pushed through, and Louis went down from a hyena biting his arm and crippling it, forcing him to drop his halberd. A gnoll stepped over him and smashed Demetious of Meepos in the back with an axe . . . and rolled almost minimum damage, just scraping his mail and lightly injuring him. The Meeposian brothers stabbed at a slorn and injured it.
The whole situation looked like it was going to go from bad to disaster in seconds. So Has' lifted up his ring finger, and speaking too it, wished his party living and dead were back at the cave entrance where they'd ditched their winter gear.
Just like that, there they were. One diamond had cracked and gone grey.
("You can thank me for not making up new characters." - Has's player.)
The PCs spent a couple of hours there, healing people up and resting, and Entombing Ken Shabby until later.
They decided to keep going as it wasn't too late in real world time, and once they'd gotten everyone nearly back to full they headed into the dungeon again.
They made it back to the slime, froze it, climbed up the rubble, and found the orcs filling it again.
Gale used Shape Earth to move some aside and they crawled to the attack. Has' put up a Stench and caught a couple of orcs. Mo took a thrown spear and threw a knife in return, and then dropped into the room. Hjalmarr followed, then Alaric. Mo smashed one orc in the groin and it was bit by the Targe of the Tiger, then grappled with the other.
Hjalmarr "helped" by throwing an axe he'd borrowed from Mo into Mo's back, missing his shot at the grappled orc, wounding Mo. He then stepped around his friend and cut down the orc in melee after Mo headbutted the orc (unfortunately the orc's helmet prevented any real harm). Alaric shot up the wounded orc with arrows until Hjalmarr cut him down, too.
From there the group moved in cautiously, but even so as they rounded a corner a bolt from the dark hit Brother Ike, drilling him for 22 injury. They dragged him around a corner and shoved him full of potions, Mo ripped out the poisoned, barbed quarrel, and they gave him more potions. They took another arrow shot but at this point the Meeposian Brothers were walking backwards in formation and blocked it (and all the other shots that came to the party's rear).
It took time but the PCs worked their way back down the hallway. They walked into another small ambush as an orc threw an axe at Hjalmarr. They recovered the axe but Hjalmarr was too slow to pursue. They moved on and then past the giant staircase. They headed for a secret door marked on their maps. It had frustrated the group a few times, no one wanted to "waste time" on it, so they wanted to get through it this delve.
That's pretty much what happened - they found the secret door, messed around with the arrow scratched into the floor, and then eventually decided the catch is elsewhere. They found a small pushbutton stone in a nearby 10 x 10 "alcove" and pressed that, unlocking the door. They got it open and saw a room with a red six-fingered handprint on the wall. Mo touched it (1 HP damage, 4 FP, -1 DX and HT from chills for a while), as did Hasdrubul (same, but 5 FP). No one else wanted to.
They sealed it up and proceeded to ransack a few rooms on the way home.
The first was an empty room.
The second was equally empty, but Mo insisted Gale go check the far wall.
Amusingly the room turned out to be a teeter-totter spiked pit that dumped people into some kind of slime's lair. Long story short is the slime glommed onto Gale as he propped himself out of the pit with his staff and Mo and Hjalmarr held the floor on their end to keep Gale from being fully dumped.
Gale zapped the slime with Frostbite, Hjalmarr pitched an axe into it getting it to let go, and then Gale was able to get back.
Eventually they experimented with getting down below - they convinced Louis to go in tied to a rope in exchange for a full share of any loot instead of merely tips. He did so, with Has' waiting with a Explosive Lightning spell charged up to 6d. When the room tilted and the slime arm oozed up, he rolled a 3 and blasted it for 30 damage. That did the job, killing it. Gale was sent in below the floor with Has' and they determined there was no loot.
They checked one last room, finding a broken chest, and then headed home. Naturally, the same exact way they came, but at a little more speed because they're heading home.
Mo blundered into a dung-smeared caltrop placed in their path, getting badly hurt but not crippled. They took more bolts and arrows on the way, too, but none of them hit home. The finally made it to the rubble, crawled over and down, and made their way through the caverns and back to the entrance.
They Disentombed Ken and carried him back to town for Final Rest.
Although they made no money, Hjalmarr and at least some of others kicked in for pay for the Meeposian Brothers since they'd earned no share, bought a halberd for Louis since he'd lost his duty weapon on the delve, and offered Orcish Bob money (he said no, it's shares or nothing and they found nothing.) They (mostly Hasdrubul, actually) made sure Ken Shabby got a good hobo funeral and Mo and Has' plan to tell tales of Ken's bravery.
So, yes, wishes come, wishes go immediately. It did really look bad. They may have had options to make it a victory but TPK seemed nearer than total victory. Choosing to leave their back to a threat that knew they were there was odd. Given more firepower they may have won anyway, but the smart move was to back off entirely (or to a better fighting area) and it was too late once the ogres rushed. The PCs also learned that yes, if your enemy is determined to be in close combat with you, and you're not willing to be there too, you're going to get backed off. Realistically, what stops foes from rushing into you is that they only want to come in safely. These guys were aggressive enough to force the issue and the PCs couldn't absorb all of the penalties to stand fast and deal with grappling and closing.
We added another player today for a trial. It was fine - he's the son of one of the players, which is where Dave the Knight came from as well. He worked out great, so if he's interested he may return (with Alaric or with a different PC perhaps, we'll see.)
Cursed ring? Yeah, so that's a Wizardry I: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord reference. Once of the respawning treasures (we didn't use that term) was on level 4 by the elevator and the Blue Ribbon and included a * * * CURSED * * * ring called the Deadly Ring which would kill you. You needed to get it removed and your guy raised, but if you sold it unidentified was worth 50,000 gp. So I threw that in - a False Aura'd ring that would kill you if you failed to resist at HT-5. Hjalmarr rolled poorly.
No mapping today. They went to map and I said, who is mapping? Turns out no one had any paper, ink, etc. so no one could map.
Still a good session. MVP was Hjalmarr because he died and for map wrangling. Everyone got 1 xp otherwise because they just barely found a new area.