Date: September 25th, 2016
Weather: Cool, sunny.
Dave, human knight (258 points)
Dryst, halfling wizard (422 points)
Mo (his momma call him Kle), human barbarian (301 points)
Quenton Gale, human druid (290 points)
Vryce, human knight (489 points)
We started in Stericksburg (which, for some reason, Mo now refers to as "the village"), with the group gathering rumors and stocking up. Raggi was nowhere to be found (16 on a 12 or less roll to appear). However, Dave was around, having come from Swampsedge and presumably having met the new crew through Gerry, his only surviving friend from his last trip.
They heard some rumors about a missing dwarven wizard, a werewolf loose in the area, a bit more on the Aruda (they have big heads that shoot magic at you), and a few tidbits they couldn't really follow up on.
Having geared up (this took a while, Dave's gear list was a year out of date) they headed up the mountain to Felltower.
After some debate about things to do (go for the teleporter doors, check the maze again, mess with the statues, try for the Lord of Spite's door, and maybe others) they settled on a trip through the main entrance. Mo was designated their new negotiator since Hasdrubel was sleeping off a hangover and needed to wash his only set of robes. Mo walked up, and the orcs sent arrows after him. He blocked most of them or dodged them, and kept calling up and waving the money around saying they'd better knock it off.
He didn't make a great impression, though. They demanded "double!" and shot arrows when Mo said no. Mo talked them down to 1200, a 20% jump. They went for it, and the usual pass-through occurred.
The group headed down into the dungeon, across the plank bridge across the pit, and through the "noisy room." They wound their way towards the wide stairs to the next level. It took backtracking once or twice as they get confused around one especially twisty and packed set of corridors. One room turned out to have a mantrap - think of an ankle-breaker bear trap - in the middle. They sent in a Created Servant to investigate, but it got torn up by a Deathtouch spell on the entrance. A second was unharmed, but Mo cautiously sprung the mantrap by lobbing a chunk of black glass salvaged last trip onto it. They collected the sprung trap as loot (actually, Mo kept it) and moved on. They eventually reached the stairs.
They re-checked the stairs, but couldn't find any gnome-height markings that might help them spot a trap in the future - he doesn't safety-mark his traps, if indeed it's him.
Once down, they passed the secret door that stumped them last time, avoided the arrow, and worked their way - the long way - across the dungeon to one of the rotating statue rooms, the one with the meteoric iron door. Two orcs guarded one of the doors into "orc territory." Mo told them they were investigating, nothing to worry about, and they proceeded to do so.
They tried the iron door's ring - nothing, not even the slightest budge ("Not like my deadlift, but like pulling on the floor?" "Yes, exactly.") Pushing, same thing. So Mo rotated the statue, taking 1 HP and 1 FP (lucky roll) from a zap of black energy. He kept his hand on it and pointed it to door after door while Vryce tried the iron door. Nothing. So Mo tried pointing the statue to the iron door and then grabbing the ring himself.
They come up with some ideas of how to manipulate the statues to possibly open the door, thinking it is a) a puzzle and/or b) a trap, but probably both a and b. But one of the rooms was in "orc territory" and might require going the long way around the whole dungeon since the orcs seemed reluctant to let them pass the short way through their territory.
So they gave up and decided to go to "The Lord of Spite's Room." They went to the magic altar they'd discovered long back, to give Dave, Mo, and Gale a chance to get a boon from it before they took on the Lord of Spite. That took some crawling over a tunnel blockage, but they made it.
Mo touched the altar, and a blue glow washed over him. For one day, all the weapons he carried had Puissance +2. Exactly what they hoped.
Next, Gale touched it, after been loaded with silver in case the silver-to-gold effect happened. Instead, a white glow washed over him, and he was in the glow of health - +2 to HT rolls and Attractive for one day.
Dave went last, again loaded with silver coins. A silver-to-gold glow washed over him. Score! 1d30 x 3 of his silver coins turned to gold. Dave's player (the son of one of the players) said, "I think I can roll and multiple by three." Die drops, and he makes a face. "Three." Yep, one times three is three. Three of his silver coins turned to gold. He briefly debated using Luck, but decided it wasn't worth it.
So they headed to the "Lord of Spite's Door." It is a silvery metal (?) door with a red six-fingered handprint in the middle of it. They stacked up for a battle, dropped the non-essential spells, buffed, put in magically created earplugs, and Mo touched the door. It slid open, sliding into the wall with almost no noise. Slight warm air wafted out.
Beyond it wasn't the Lord of Spite.
Beyond it was a circular room maybe 20 yards or so across. Just inside was a landing, and descending around the outside wall of the room was a staircase.
"Oh, this is the staircase to Hell in the rumors."
They moved cautiously in. The room domed overhead, shallowly, and stairs wound down around and around to unknown depths. The stairs were about 7'-8' wide, no railings, worn, and old. So they went single file, spaced apart from each other, down the stairs.
Mo decided the Lord of Spite lived at the bottom, and he was going to take a leak over the side to get him riled up so they could fight him from the top of the stairs. But there wasn't any sound of the demon lord, or smell of animals (or fire, they seemed to think warm air meant fire - wrong, but worth asking!) So they descended.
After two winds they found another landing, under the other one, perhaps 50-60 feet down, maybe a bit more? There was a silvery wall, but no amount of touching, crowbarring, or pushing and sliding would budge it. So they continued down - the staircase seemed to go forever.
Another few winds, and they reached another landing . . . and found the staircase ended. The "go forever" impression was simply an uncanny painting that created the optical illusion of more depth. There was a silvery door, and this one instantly opened at Mo's touch.
Beyond it was a corridor like the one they'd entered from. Beyond that was a room down a short corridor, and they could see a few green lights. Dim, small, arranged in rows of two or three. They quickly moved to investigate, weapons ready.
The lights turned out to be green stones and green eyes on four obsidian golems. Dryst recognized them - very rare, the secret of making them lost, and very dangerous, but still just golems. They started to get ready to fight and Dryst started to cast Great Haste, and the golems moved to engage them. These, unlike so many others, didn't wait until struck to animate.
As the golems advanced, a high-pitched hum/tone came from them, which penetrated even the earplugs they had in. Two of them sent green beams of magical energy at the PCs, hitting Vryce and Mo. Mo resisted, Vryce was not so lucky - a 3 on the golem's roll. But he has Luck, and used that to force a re-roll and managed to resist. They felt washes of near-paralysis go over them. They moved in. The golems came in fast, and the next two used their rays on Mo and Vryce. Vryce again resisted (with Luck, again, IIRC) but Mo failed and was paralyzed.
The golems attacked Dave and Vryce, as Dryst moved up and started to Great Haste Vryce, then put Vigor on both Dave and Vryce for +5 HT apiece. Dave blocked their fists, and smashed one back with his morningstar, and Vryce chopped into one, put big cracks in it. One of the golems grabbed Mo around the neck with both hands, however. Dave struck that one, damaging it badly, as Vryce destroyed one. The one on Mo tried to snap his neck and did enough damage to tear a normal man's head off, but it was only enough to badly injure the paralyzed Mo. Vryce and Dave went to work on the others, and then when that one let go of Mo they attacked it next. The golems fought cleverly but weren't a match for Vryce, nevermind with help from Dave. One managed to punch Dave critically, right in the skull - and Dave only has a mail coif. He took 12 damage, -4 for DR, x 4 for skull = 32 damage. He went from 21 HP to -11 . . . and easily made his Stunning and Knockdown roll thanks to his native HT and the massive Vigor spell on him.
The golems were dangerous and had good defenses and skills. Dave had to use Luck to avert a critical defense, as well, but in the end, they turned them into rubble in only a few more seconds.
The battle over, or so they thought, they PCs got to business. Vryce and Dave started to look around, Dryst moved to check the broken golems for salvageable bits, and Gale moved back to the stairs to watch their rear. Mo just stood there, paralyzed.
But in about 30 seconds two more golems, backed by a half-dozen humanoid figures, charged up. The figures all cone-hatted, clad in ornate scale armor, and bearing decorated weapons. Five of them had greataxes, one clearly more ornate than the others. The sixth had a long narrow sword, a slender mace, and a buckler - although he was holding something else in his hands - it turned out to be a grenade.
Dave positioned himself in front of them, with Vryce to the side to prevent them from end-rushing around them. It didn't help. Dave stepped up and smashed an advancing golem, but then it limmed him with its eye-ray and he was paralyzed. Vryce was swarmed by the cone-hatted axemen, and one in the back threw a demon ichor grenade near Vryce. Another threw one to Vryce's side, near Dryst (who was invisible, as usual).
A big melee ensued. The axemen tried to pressure Vryce and surround him, and he refused to engage them until he could finish the golems. The one Dave damaged moved to attack Gale, who dumped a Pollen Cloud over the entire fight. It didn't bother Vryce thanks to his HT and the Vigor spell, but it didn't seem to bother the cone-hatted guys either. One of them, the "leader," tried to shoot Vryce with lightning spat from its left hand, which it pointed just in that same way the statues point. It missed (Missile Shield) but clipped Invisible Dryst, who blocked, giving away his existence.
They fought with axes, threw smoke nageteppo to obscure vision, and more demon's brew to attempt to kill the PCs. Vryce was on his heels until Dryst got off Great Haste and then Blur -6 in quick succession. Then it was basically over, although it didn't appear so at first. Vryce chopped up the golem attacking him, wanting to finish it off before its glowing green stones got to full glow. Then he started in on the axemen. They attacked furiously but couldn't get past his defenses, even with flank attacks, runarounds, and piling on multiple strikes. Vryce took one out, stunning him. The one with the better axe engaged him and managed to hit, and even defended against Vryce's Feint-fronted heavily Deceptive attacks. Then Vryce landed a critical hit and a solid hit after a good Feint, and put the axeman down. Next, he turned on one ducking into a smoke cloud. He caught him well and head him fall like a stone after a heavy hit. Then he broke over to help Gale, who was being menaced by a Golem. The golem punched Gale, who luckily defended - but the Mummy's Curse struck him, turning his success to failure. He took a heavy shot to the chest.
Vryce ran up and attacked it from behind, but it spun and avoided one strike - but still took the other, and fell to pieces. ("They have 360 degree sensors?" "No, that's Gamma Terra, this is DF, they have eyes on the back of their heads.") Dryst put Air Vision on Vryce so he could see through the smoke.
The axemen saw the fight wasn't going well, and blanketed the room with more smoke, and demon's brew over both Mo and Dave. Vryce turned and sprinted into Mo, slamming him full power down and out of the poison gas. He kept going, turned, ran though a cloud himself (taking some solid damage) and slammed Dave down and out of the gas next. He kept going, attacking the sword-and-buckler guy. That one stabbed Vryce in the eyeslits (yes, despite Blur -6) but Vryce warded his blow off, ignored two axement try to run him down from behind, and step aside and cut the swordsman down in with a Feint and an attack. Then he turned on the axemen. They tried to fight, but it didn't last long. Within two seconds they went down. Another one was clipped and injured by Dryst with a Stone Missile, and as he limped away Vryce cut him down, too.
The fight was over.
Within a minute, Mo became unparalyzed, then in short order Dave did too.
They started to mess around again, relaxing, drinking potions, calculating rest times, etc. The PCs went for "the leader" also known as "their mage." They ignored the others - cultists they figured - and dragged him behind them. Then Mo stopped and chopped his head off with his axe, heedless of his scale armor. Then he hacked off the hands.
Then they heard a scrap-thump (I actually hit the table). Then a scrape-THUMP. Then a scape-THUMP! (I slammed the table full power, rattling the whole setup, actually ripping my pinky knuckle on the edge of something) They knew what it was - the Lord of Spite. And loud, because he's close, and banging, because he's coming at a fast clip for him. The PCs panicked, that's the best way to describe it.
They grabbed the body and ran up the stairs. Imagine fighting two battles in short order, after climbing down a set of stairs, all with no rest, then running. That's what they did. Jelly-legged and breathing heavily, they moved up and up. And below them, a big blue ogre-looking horrid thing with an axe and a club, with two warboars with him, began to scrape-THUMP, scrape-THUMP, up the stairs. They just kept running. The reached the top nearly exhausted, several of them having to stop and down paut just to keep running. At the top, they stopped for a minute to drink more paut and panic some more. Then they ran towards the next level. They managed to make it, closing and Magelocking a door behind them as they heard scrap-THUMP, then yells, they sounds of combat . . . lopsided, unhappy combat.
They managed to find a small room to hide out in up on the top level. And they waited, resting for a little while, deciding what to do. The combat noises were intermittent but continued.
Mo decided he needed the heart of the "leader." He hacked it apart with his axe, eventually sort-of removing a small, shriveled-looking "heart" from its chest. Little blood came out - very little. Most of its wounds didn't bleed at all.
What was it? It had yellow-gold skin, lobeless ears, a somewhat pointed skull, and six fingers. It looked somewhat elven, but had pointy fangs like the orcs do.
Off of it they got its sword, mace, buckler, some smoke nageteppo, a six-fingered silvery mesh glove, and some armor and clothes. Also a vial of Oil of Puissance. And a silver-and-gold necklace with a red "stone" that felt a little warm and almost pliable. After some discussion, they decided to drop the body down a midden soaked in oil, use Create Fire on it, and keep it going "forever" (until Dryst slept, really, or dropped the spell - Dryst can manage that.)
They headed to the surface, but found the orcs had stranded two of their own on the dungeon side of the pit. The pillbox nearest them was abandoned - they'd never seen that. The orcs yelled at Mo (who Dryst put Gift of Tongues on) that "You humans" had riled up the Lord of Spite. Mo said, we don't fear him, we'll get those guys to let us across. The orcs ran past them into the dungeon, not believing him.
They did manage that, though. Mo waved the sword, and said, "If you want your share of the loot, let us across." The toughest orc decided in a snap - "Okay." Across they went, the plank bridge was withdrawn, and Mo handed over the fine-quality sword of the six-finger.
They eventually made it back to town.
Best part of this session had to be the post-fleeing discussions about how they wanted to face the Lord of Spite, how he was damn lucky they were too depleted to kick his butt, etc. Most of that occurred on the walk home from the dungeon.
We discussed "who touched what" - I write all of that down. All of it. Touched the door? I know who touched it. Didn't touch the hand? I know. Touched the altar? I know. I write it all down, and I ask, regardless of whether it has significance or not. Because that way they don't know which ones do and which ones don't.
Two great quotes tonight:
"I'll piss on a demon but I'm not stupid." - Mo
"You can't crowbar your way into Hell." - Quenton Gale
"Crowbar Your Way Into Hell" sounds like a Motorhead album name.
I do really need to sit down and figure out how much time per 10' square in terms of travel, just so I can more easily track time passed. I have some idea but it would be useful if I could tell exactly.
DF1 doesn't say how long those demon gas grenades last. Probably one second, but where is the fun in that? I made it 10 seconds. Effects get lessened over time (2d/1d, then 1d/none over the last five seconds). Stacking them in a hex doesn't stack the damage, but I'd give a -1 to the HT roll for each one to a limit of -5.
Dryst wanted to Return Missile on the first grenade thrown. I said no - if you can cast Return Missile on someone else, and that someone else is the ground, what's a fair cost? Does that even make sense? I saw too many issues and arguments from allowing it, plus I don't particularly like the spell, so I said no.
Not so much loot this time - they got a suit of that Magery-dependent armor, but didn't want to sell it. They sold the necklace, couldn't find a buyer for the heart, repaired and sold the glove (it was a non-rechargable lightning-shooting glove, no one wanted it), and sold the thing's clothes - its boots and cloak, anyway, which were of an unusual velvet-like material and very nice. Only the armor and glove were magical, in any rate.
We had a hopefully useful discussion about the recent issues with, "fight's over, let's just sit right down here and rest." Mostly that's worked out as a problem - wandering monsters, reinforcements, bothersome stirges, etc. - and it will be more so as they go into more dangerous sections of the dungeon. I think it's just a player mental mode - fight's over, combat time is over, so calculate how much rest time and potions, make your rolls, time passes, loot is gathered, now what? Meanwhile I'm frantically tracking time, rolling dice, and things are reacting. It's a difference in perspective that has bit them a couple times, and I think it's mostly just that they have gotten used to some fights that were one-and-done and came with a safe, now-secure place to rest.
XP was 6 for most of them (4 xp for loot, since they're still so new they need little for a profit, 1 xp for finding a new area of significance, 1 xp for a clean run), 3 xp for Vryce (0 for loot since it was a fraction of his needs, 1 xp for a clean run, 1 xp for MVP for the slam-to-safety-then-kill-everyone move).
Pictures and notes were posted as well.