February 25th, 2018
Weather: Cold, rain.
Ahenobarbus the Lacerator, human swashbuckler (265 points)
Dryst, halfling wizard (435 points)
Hayden the Unnamed, human knight (265 points)
Hjalmarr Holgerson, human knight (337 points)
Brother Ike, human initiate (160 points)
Mo (his momma call him Kle), human barbarian (350 points)
The group gathered some rumors. Among them were two about dragons - that they're magical beings, and eat because they like to, not because they have to, and one that said they can only be slain by swords ("That's not true" - Hjalmarr) or by an arrow - but there is only one arrow in the world that can do it." ("But it's also human slaying," said Dryst, after Ahenobarbus mentioned Reverse Missiles.) Raggi wasn't around, though.
They purchased potions, picked up some special orders from weeks back, and headed out. Among the things they purchased were three iron strongboxes and three beeswax candles for sealing.
The headed up to the walls and climbed up, and dragged up those who needed climbing help. Dryst scouted ahead into the dungeon, which was sodden and damp from days and days of rain. The 20' pit was mostly full of water and the stench of waste and rot was strong. Nothing waited for them, so they laid the bridge down and worked their way into the dungeon. They headed right to the pool room. It was locked, so Dryst used Lockmaster to open it.
They explored the pools a bit, as Dryst created himself some Alchemical Garb and gathered up the mercury from the mercury pool. There was roughly a gallon - 115 pounds of it, to be exact. He split it up in the three strongboxes. Meanwhile, Hjalmarr and Mo couldn't resist having some of the booze from the spirits pool. It was delicious, but they were able to keep themselves to merely tipsy and not all the way to drunk.
Once the boxes were filled, Hjalmarr melted the candles with Dryst and used the beeswax to seal the strongboxes completely.
Hjalmarr and Ahenobarbus and Hayden tried the purple pool of dreams. Ahenobarbus and Hayden drank and it was delicious, but didn't make them sleepy. Ahenobarbus tried again, but still no. "Let me show you how it's done!" slurred tipsy Hjalmarr, who then took a sip and feel asleep immediately, face down up against the side of the pool.
They rested for 20 minutes to regain expended FP and then Brother Iklwa used Awaken. Hjlamarr was just dreaming of a ruins in a swamp when he woke up. He assumes this is the Cold Fens, and it's where the dragon lives, but has no idea where the ruins are. His memory of the details - which were already fuzzy - faded a bit as he awoke.
They headed out after this, luggin the mercury.
They made their way to the "ogre room," down the stairs (to the "apetrium" as Ahenobarbus calls it), and to the secret room with a red handprint in it. They opened that up, put in the chests, and closed it. ("To protect the chests from stirges, who'll drink the sweet, sweet mercury - they need it to reproduce.")
From there, they headed toward the illusionary wall that shields the burial chambers were the draugr and the "Greater Brothers" were buried. They walked past the wall and then back to it, and then Hjalmarr went in - nothing but opaque, choking smoke. Dryst used Purify Air on the area to clear it, mostly, and then went in and searched. Within a minute, however, the smoke was coming back in significant enough amounts to be an issue. So they headed down the left of the three staircases.
They found and searched the various niches, took an urn (which had a name, hand symbols, and "By the Brotherhood, let me pass" written on them), and skulls. They tried touching the big painted hands on the walls, touching them with skulls, skulls and urns, etc. to no avail. They used a Wizard Eye to explore the burned-out niche they'd walled off before, and found a cave with an even smaller tunnel out that had signs that something dug out bits of the rock walls.
From there, they moved back out and into the hallway, simply running through the smoke this time with their eyes closed and breath held.
They turned right and headed up the corridor and found the room they needed to pass choked with mold. After some long discussion about the issues with clearing it with Flame Jet and lots of Purify Air spells, they gave up and decided to go the long way.
On the way back, they ran into two carrion caterpillars (like carrion crawler, but looking like this). They rushed the party from along the ceiling. Mo stepped up and attacked, and was struck repeatedly by the tentacles. He resisted their paralytic poison. Hjlamarr's armor stopped the attacks as well, but his arm was bitten by the caterpillar and he was injured and held - he was able to break free partially, but then Ahenobarus ran up and sliced it repeatedly. Mo smashed his a few times and eventually it just hung limp from the ceiling. The other was sliced into several parts by Ahenobarbus and a now-free Hjlamarr.
The group moved on, and wound their way over to the web-choked hallways. Mo took the lead, with Flaming Weapon on his silvered machete. He sliced up the webs until a humongous spider rushed him. It bit him but didn't harm him seriously, and he shrugged off the venom (he's resistant). He sliced it badly and it retreated. He kept burning webs. Two big spiders rushed and bit him. He managed to kill one, too, and shrug off their venom. The other was slain by Hjalmarr. They burned the webs all the way to the lair of the big spider, and killed it.
Once they burned though the area, they headed toward their goal - the "mummy room." But the hallway was blocked off. They spent a good chunk of time with Dryst using Earth to Air to create a crawlway. They made it through and rested in a nearby room, then needed to do it again at another block closer in.
On the other side of that block was . . . that same rough, brown mold. Sigh.
They ended up having Dryst cast Flame Jet to burn mold and Purify Air to survive the process. It took a long time, but nothing molested them. They eventually burned their way to the statue room (which was clear, as was some of the hallway) and then went down to the "mummy area." They searched for more clues and details, seeking names. They didn't find anything new, but they did locate the red hand. Mo touched that, too, as did Dryst. They've chosen Hayden to stay "pure" and not touch any of the hands. Dryst wanted to do that, but also wants to be able to escape solo if he needs to.
From there they eventually went to the giant staircase and down. Their plan was to try to figure out the "key pressing" puzzle mosaic. So naturally, they immediately went after the norkers instead. They sent a servant ahead one step at a time until they hear that "click" and door close. They searched the area for a tripwire, pressure plate, etc. - nope.
Meanwhile, the air on this level had become very stale, and Mo felt a little woozy (-1 DX and HT.)
So they moved towards the norkers. The hallway was trapped, of course. Mo had learned Traps and they confidently relied on his 9. That worked, sort of. They saw the bell tripwire had been reset. They discussed how it was probably rigged for someone trying to disarm it to set off a secondary trap, so Hjalmarr just stepped over. The secondary trap was actually for that - he hit a very thin tripline, and five crossbow bolts hummed out of the darkness into his chest. He blocked one, and the other four hit (he didn't try to Dodge, only Block, for fear of his companions getting hit.) Those four were bodkin quarrels from a high-powered crossbow smeared with four doses each of Monster Drool. He took a lot of damage and then failed all four HT rolls (for 32 toxic damage). He stood for a moment and tried to drink his healing potion . . . but that was enough effort to knock him out. He felt on the bell tripline.
Immediately they heard the sound of reaction - doors, horny feet on the floor, rattles of weapons, voices. They grabbed Hjalmarr and fled. Luckily for them Mo had downed a ST potion and rolled a 6, so he had ST 28. He could easily pick up all 300+ pounds of armored Hjalmarr and still be among the fastest of the party.
They fled to the stairs, and decided to defend the second landing. Until, that is, dozens of norkers came in. They backed up more, dropped two light stones to light the bottom and putting down alchemist's fire on the stairs. The norkers covered or took the lightstones, and just walked through the fire heedless of it. The party set up on the top landing.
As they waited to slaughter norkers, and debated sending Hjalmarr down to cut them off from behind, Hjalmarr took a shot in the head from a bullet - maybe a prodd bullet. It pierced his armor and was only stopped by his skull, barely. But the poison on it paralyzed him! Ike quickly cast Relieve Paralysis and Dryst put up a Force Wall on that flank. But a second bullet followed and injured Hjalmarr, again piercing his helmet and ignoring the Force Wall - either it was meteoric or enchanted (it turned out to be the former.) It was poisoned, too. They dragged themselves out of the door and Dryst put down another Force Wall across the doorway.
The norkers came up and tested the wall, but backed right off - Mo was hoping they'd stand close to it so he could swing through it.
The two sides eyed each other until the door closed.
The PCs headed back to the first level, gathering their mercury on the way.
Not yet done, they then headed to the "apartment complex" they'd last sent Vryce into. This time, they buffed up Mo with Resist spells and sent him through - only to have him zapped with black fire that drained much of his FP. Once inside, a voice asked "Who are you?" Mo answered, "Brother Mo!" and got zapped with Frostbite, but Resist Cold prevented any damage. Amusingly, they'd rehearsed an answer, and it sure wasn't "Brother Mo."
Mo explored the complex a little bit, and found the red hand. He touched that one, too. Then he eyed the dinette set but realized it was too hard to take. So he gathered up all of the bedding he could and brought that - 33 pounds worth of it. They tried to toss him a rope, but it was burned by the faces along the hallway. So he just jumped to safety. It worked, but he was at -FP when he landed after yet another black fire blast (and a harmless fire blast.)
From there, they headed to the otyugh. They decided it must be tempting them with true visions of actual treasure. Long story short, that was not the case. It tempted Mo with the certain knowledge that a poor elf maid had fallen into the pit and needed rescue! Mo was suspicious, but also curious. Mo moved to the edge of the pit with Water Vision on, and got slapped and grabbed by the otyugh (it rolled a 3.) He managed to strike it back and get it to let go. After a brief fight, the otyugh was slashed by Hjlamarr, speared by Hayden, and badly wounded. It retreated back.
So they used Destroy Water to strand it in dry filth. Mo saw visions of an elf woman off somewhere chained to a wall. (Hjlamarr: "Scantily clad?" Me: "Clad?" Ahenobarbus: "Technically, she's clad in the chains, so she's wearing the whole planet!") Mo tried thinking back about "give us loot and we'll let you live" kind of things but did poorly. So he gave up and shot it with his bow. It charged and was quickly chopped to death.
They proceeded to cut it up, looking for it's "gem-holding gizzard" or anything in its stomach. No such luck. It had nothing.
They cast some Seek Earth spells on gold and silver and got lines on each, so they may look for it next time.
From there, they just headed home.
The pillows, etc. turned out to be worth more than 3000. The mercury, 15,000. They have Dryst 4000 or so and split the rest evenly.
- The carrion caterpillars were fun, but essentially harmless to the armored folks. They should have hit more as we had a lot of "barely made" defenses that forgot the -2 for a foe overhead. Oh well. Their poison-based paralytic tentacles didn't harm strongly poison-resistant Mo or come in skin contact with
- Another rules snafu we noticed early - players assumed "greathelms" come with No Peripheral Vision and Hearing roll penalties. It's not - it's "full face protection." It doesn't matter if your narrow-eyeslitted ear-covering face mask/helmet/etc. is made of cloth, leather, or metal, it's still reducing vision and hearing. Dryst decided to get his armor modified post-game to fix that. This didn't affect anything.
- So the mercury was found before, does that still count as "loot?" Yes. It wasn't exploited in any way as treasure, nor brought into the dungeon by the PCs, so sure.
- What did the mercury do - a lot, actually. Taken out, it's useful for making scrying devices and for certain magical items. In place, however, it did more. From my notes:
A silvery pool of mercury, useful for scrying. Allows any vision spell to be cast remotely, with long distance penalties, or halves the penalties for Seek spells of any kind, and acts as a +3 Crystal Ball for crystal-gazing. Can be used to cast any spell on a location currently being scryed, with appropriate long-distance modifiers. If removed, the mercury can be sold normally - there is about 15,000 sp worth here, which weighs 115 lbs (a bit more than 1 gallon.)
The PCs used it that way in the past - for Seek, not for remote casting (that was undiscovered). But because "it's worth $15K!" they took it and sold it. In place, it was potentially worth more. The PCs know of another crystal ball, though, and intend to use that instead. That one only works for crystal-gazing however. Can they just buy $15K worth of mercury and put it back and get it working again? No, the enchantment is broken. It would need to be re-made, however it was made in the first place.
- If you're adventuring without Resist Fire, Resist Cold, Resist Lightning, and spells like Resist Acid and Resist Poison, you're basically adventuring naked. Too many unavoidable damage sources are based on them, and you can make serious threats into harmless victims with the right Resist spells.
- so the otyugh is finally dead.
- XP was 4 each (loot, no exploration) and Mo was MVP for touching hand after hand and looting the pillows.