January 5th, 2014
Weather: Very cold, heavy accumulated snow, occasionally sleet/ice pellets
Characters: (approximate net point total)
Chuck Morris, human martial artist (303 points)
Dryst, halfling wizard (324 points)
Father Hans, human cleric (130 points, NPC)
Shieldbearer Jon, human guard (62 points, NPC)
Vryce, human knight (401 points)
Lucky Pete - one-handed human guard (not many points, NPC), volunteer hireling
Gort - Dwarf of the Shining Force (??, Dwarf)
Still in town:
Borriz, dwarven knight (308 points)
Christoph, human scout (258 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (327 points)
Galoob Jah, goblin thief (250 points)
Honus Honusson, human barbarian (297 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
We started the session, as usual, in Stericksburg. The group gathered rumors, bought some gear (mostly spellstones and healing potions), and headed out. They heard rumors, including one about a lost city somewhere deep in the dungeon, another about folks having used sections of the dungeon as burial grounds (complete with traps and occasional eternal guardians), and still another that Prince Valashkabash III of Cashamash offering 10 gold eagles for the location of the orc-king's lost tomb, 100 gold eagles for the orc-king's crown. They heard two about pools - one of the best booze in the world (but only drunk straight from the pool) and another about one you can dip swords in to give them (temporarily) a keen edge.
Raggi wasn't there (12 or less to show up, I rolled a 13), but two volunteers were around - Lucky Pete and Gort. They took them along.
This time they bypassed the orcs, digging out the bugbear's entrance and heading in that way, not wanting to share treasure (or knowledge) with the orcs and aiming to loot the wizard's lair. They took a side route through some secret doors but as they headed to the stairs down they ran into an orc guard post. The three orcs attacked and killed their scouting servant, but as they burst out of the room they ran into Vryce, Gort, and Chuck. In one second one was down, then Dryst silenced the yelling orcs as Gort and Chuck hacked down the other two. Gort got a lucky set of rolls and chopped the orc (barely), who blew his defense, and then rolled "Face" and maximum damage. Chop. Orc dropped.
The PCs looted them of their ready cash (some silver, some copper, one had 3 gold) and then tossed them down a nearby privy. No one mentioned finishing them off, but all had very severe injuries (the face-slashed one was the least injured) and probably didn't survive the 10' fall to the refuse below.
The group headed out and down, especially quickly after hearing orc sounds in the other direction. Once down, they quickly moved into the wizard's area after crowbarring through a barred door in the statue room (while Silenced, to avoid alerting anyone.)
They moved into the "wizard's area" - centered on the lens room and the maze.
First, they investigated the maze, trying their best to map it out. They found a dead end, marked with a glowing rune about 6" tall on the wall (I wrote "floor" last time, in error), in the Elder Tongue, that translated as "transport." They sent a servant up to take a rubbing, trace the rune, and otherwise fiddle with it, without any effect. But then, the decided it would only activate with real person activating it. So they got ready, and Vryce activated the rune after Dryst tried (and failed) to Wild Talent Telepathy so they could find out where he was transported to.
Sadly, it wasn't what it said it was. Instead of transporting Vryce, instead it set off a magical trap which SLAMMED down a crushing force down onto the group. It did 37 damage (10d!) to everyone, large area injury. This spelled doom for a good part of the group. Lucky Pete was slammed down to -24 HP and rolled a 16 on his death check - dead! Gort took a similar amount but thanks to his higher HP total and a better HT, he (barely) made the check and survived. Same with Shieldbearer Jon, who was smitten unconscious but was still barely alive. Father Hans wasn't so lucky, failing his HT check by a lot (he's only HT 10, and that caught up to him) - dead. Dryst (7 HP) had to make multiple death checks, and failed the second by 2 . . . mortally wounded. Chuck (who, along with Vryce, was hurt but not terribly so) rushed forward to try to stabilize him with Esoteric Medicine. He failed.
I ruled they could give him a second chance at a die-or-not HT roll if they got him to full HP. So they crushed a few spellstones against Dryst, and then fed him a Minor Healing potion. He got his roll, and made it. He also made his roll to avoid long-term consequences from his near-death experience.
As they did this, a squishing, slurping noise came close to them - a gelatinous cube was moving in on them! Vryce hacked it apart - it took only a couple seconds, but he managed to hack it apart before it could either move in on the dead/injured or back off once he started in on it.
Meanwhile, Chuck fed Gort healing potions and bandaged up Jon enough to keep him alive.
They left the unconscious Jon and the dead behind and explored more. They had some real difficulty navigating the maze, because it's hard to describe and confusing in layout (everything in the metallic maze looks the same.) They found more of the runes, but touched none - although they had a servant try and determine that, like the other, nothing happened. They chalked up the death last time to a gelatinous cube.
After trying to find all the runes and getting turned around a few times, they closed off their map as best they could and headed out.
They took a detour into the "flaming skulls" room and killed them off. We didn't even roll - they had Chuck and Vryce with magic weapons that seemed to be efficacious against them, and Dryst used Resist Fire on all three PCs (and put Gort to guard the door). Since the skulls couldn't do damage and wouldn't flee, it was just a matter of time. We declared them dead and moved on. They mapped out the area - it was clearly a prison, and See Secrets showed nothing hidden.
They went back to the lens room. They fiddled with the repelling doors (which bounced lightning, and a thrown coin, equally easily). They spent a good bit of time with the lenses, turning them around and setting them up for rebound shots. They threw lightning in a way to hit all the lenses and then into the labyrinth, both with Vryce in there (with Resist Lightning on) and not in there, trying to see where the lightning ricocheted, hoping it would lead them to the true rune. No such luck. Reflecting lightning into the repelling doors didn't do anything, either, and Identify Spell during a reflection came up with an unknown magic.
After a lot of time messing around, they headed it. Chuck's player had to leave early, and it was clear they didn't have any more ideas and no one wanted to explore new territory at the end of a session. They turned everyone invisible (a 4 on one casting helped a lot), and headed out the dungeon carrying their wounded (Jon) and dead (Hans, Lucky Pete) to the surface.
They made it out, spotting some evidence the orc corpses had been removed from the privy. They moved on and out.
Once on the surface they did their best to put snow back in front of the "secret" entrance and then headed back to town.
Father Hans was turned over to the church, Lucky Pete to the poor man's grave pit, and Jon set up to heal.
Not much accomplished this session, but still, it wasn't a bad day of gaming.
XP base is 5 for a trip, -1 for unprofitable, -1 for dead PCs/major henchmen, -1 for minimal exploration = 2 points for this session. No MVP, either, since no one felt like anyone had done anything to deserve it.
The group retroactively gave Basher 50 sp for last session, since they just forgot in the rush to get home.
Ironically, we had some combat rules we wanted to test out today, but nothing came up. The orc fight was too brief for them to come up, the flaming skulls fight wasn't even worth rolling dice for since they couldn't harm the PCs and the PCs could easily harm them.
Lucky Pete suffered the fate of all guys I write up stats for, I guess. He had a good run, and he should have been a helpless cripple once before. Still, it's sad to see him go.
Father Hans, too - the group would have gotten his resurrected, but it is 15,000 sp ($15K) to do, and no one had anything close to that. So that was that - it's possible the church might spring for it because he's such a powerful healer (Faith Healing, Power Investiture 4), but his adventuring days are over in either case. The PCs looted him of the potions and potion belt they'd gotten him, but otherwise returned him to the church with everything he came with.
I joked off-hand that I should have had someone sell them a map of the labyrinth for 1000 sp. They said they'd have paid it. That's not actually a terrible idea. The issue with a labyrinth like this is that it's hard to describe, map, and visualize, not that it's so terribly confusing if you're actually there. So maybe I will have someone offer a reasonably accurate map for sale, since it's certainly plausible they exist. The challenge with the maze is the runes, not the layout, exactly. We'll see. Had I done so I expect this session might have been more productive and thus more fun, and I'm sorry I didn't think of this and follow through on it before.