Weather: Warm and humid to very warm and raining.
Alaric, human scout (262 points)
Gwynneth, high elf wizard (252 points)
Hjalmarr Holgerson, human knight (341 points)
Brother Ike, human initiate (160 points)
Jasper, human swashbuckler (250 points)
Mo (his momma call him Kle), human barbarian (383 points)
Vryce, human knight (509 points)
We started off in town, gathering rumors and purchasing gear. But as they did so, Gwynneth - elf female - met Mo - possessor of great mojo with elf women, specifically - met for the first time. Mo pulled his slickest move and took her hand and kissed it . . . and rolled a 4 on Sex Appeal. Gwynneth was all for Mo, right there. Hilarity ensued over the rest of the session.
The plan, such as it was, was to go fight the werewolves and to check out the pit that leads to the level below.
They headed out. Mo had already decapitated the statue of Sterick, so he started on smashing the horse's legs. From there they went up the winding path to the top of the mountain and reached the castle. Nothing waited for them on the surface so they climbed up. For some reason they forgot Ike, so Mo climbed down and climbed back up carrying Ike.
From there they headed down through the trap door. They eyed the wheel that opens and closes it, trying to figure out how to break it so it can't be locked, but put that off for later.
They made their way to the second level, and to the giant fantastic staircase door. They opened it and stood around discussing plans for several minutes. Hjalmarr kept opening the door each time it closed on its own. Eventually, they went down. At the bottom, Alaric mused about ways to destroy the art that gives the illusion of a continuing staircase.
They opened the door and headed out into the level. No "click" this time. They quickly made their way to the partly bricked-up section of tunnel near where they'd fought the golden swordsmen. They passed by the brick wall, with its "gunk" on the far side (a bit dried, now.) The tunnel turned right and left before ending in a portcullis with four spray-bottle traps that had been disarmed once by Rolan and then re-set. Alaric disarmed them all this time. Mo attempted to raise the portcullis, but it was locked. So Vryce joined in and together they lifted it, snapping the lock. (They'd discover there was a locking lever on the far side, now useless.) They all shuffled under the portcullis and let it down.
From there they could turn right or left. They smelled a musty, earthy, moist smell around this area. They headed left. They found a circular room roughly 12-14 yards in diameter, covered with a yellow-brown gunk on the floor. It had clearly been hand-spread, away from the far end and towards this exit. There were also two other ways out, hallways equidistant from the one they were in.
They couldn't decide if the material was poisonous or not. Alaric tried to scoop some up with a spoon, but he didn't have a very good time of it. He could get some off but they didn't have a place to keep it. In the end they had Gwynneth Create Earth to cover the entire room with a few inches of soil and then walk across. They chose the left exit.
They went down a corridor and turned 45 degrees to the right. Just past the turn they could see the corridor continued until it reached a left turn, but at the turn a room opened out to the upper right. They could clearly see a black ooze sitting on the floor, glistening.
They decided they needed to clear the ooze, as it was between them and the werewolves (this would prove not to be true, they'd mis-mapped.) So they decided Alaric should shoot it, and Gwynneth would throw an Explosive Fireball. Alaric readied and shot immediately, with no one else (even Gwynneth) getting ready. His arrow hit the ooze, and in response five oozes zipped out at them! Since they were only 7 yards from the oozes, which have Combat Reflexes and Move 8, before they could do anything else the oozes had rushed into their midst. The best chance to catch multiple oozes in a large explosive spell without roasting any friendlies was gone.
What followed was a fight with the oozes moving in an among the group. Folks readied disposable weapons and swatted away, while Gwynneth cast 3d Explosive Fireball spells and threw them into the group, igniting her friends as she scorched the oozes. They whittled away at the oozes for a bit, until they realized they regenerate - and do so quickly - and they couldn't just wear them down. As the fight went on Hjalmarr used a Resist Fire spellstone to put a fire on himself out (and to prevent more damage from the fire spells), Vryce used Resist Acid to render himself immune to the corrosion of the oozes, and several weapons were destroyed or badly damaged - although no real weapons of note. Alaric used up a lot of arrows firing into the slimes, too. Brother Ike took a stinging whip to the face from an ooze and was blinded in one eye and knocked out cold from corrosion and venom. Moe lost his beard to an ooze, and lots of armor was damaged. Vryce at once point tried grappling oozes when his wooden sword broke and then resorted to punching them to burn them as he was on fire for half of the fight. One ooze split, too, retreated, and then the two came back once they'd regenerated to sufficient HP.
In the end the oozes were slain, much paut was used, and Ike was out. And they could clear see more ooze where they'd first spotted it. After the fight, they had to drag a one-eyed Ike away to recover. No one had Awaken or any Awaken stones or scrolls, so they needed to heal him up a bit and then wait for him to waken on his own - which would take an hour or so.
So they retreated all the way back to the colored door area. They tried to open the big, heavy door but couldn't budge it. So Mo stuck his hand into the biting door's mouth, got bitten, and they hauled the door open and piled in. They partly closed the door (it had no latch or handle within) and stayed there. They searched the room thoroughly but then just rested for more than an hour. Mo's loincloth had been burned off, but Mo asked Gwynneth for some of her rob. She ripped off the bottom part so he could make a rough mawashi out of it. Ike eventually woke up, having been fed healing potions. Once he was able to finish healing himself, his eye was fine, and they were ready to . . . rest more.
Around this time they heard marching booted feet nearby. They weren't able to identify anything beyond that - not numbers or distance, only direction - from the direction on their map were the stairs lay.
Once they were rested, they headed back out. They began to suffer breathing issues from the close air of the dungeon in this area.
Once again, they passed the portcullis and headed into the circular chamber, deciding to head right (still convinced, at this point, that the werewolves were to the left.)
To the right they smelled that earthy, musty, damp smell. There was another of those portcullis setups - four sprayer traps, each individually rigged, twelve metal bells on this side of the portcullis, etc.
Beyond it was a 20' long, 10-12' deep pit full of pungi stakes close-set and smeared with some yellow-brown gunk ("urine and feces" they decided.) The pit was maybe 10" from the portcullis, and went wall to wall.
Alaric tried to disarm the four traps. He got two of them, and then got a breath-full of fumes from one after he set it off. It was toxic, but not terribly so. Ike couldn't identify it with Poisons. He finished disarming the traps after that (including that one, it wasn't clear if it was empty or not.)
Then he plugged up the bells with strips of Gwynneth's increasingly small robe. Mo used Power Blow to double his strength and open the gate (finally getting to use his Iron Ring of Endurance.) He held it up as Gwynneth used Create Earth and Earth to Stone to make a pillar to keep it up for the next 24 hours.
They then decided to cross the pits. They tossed lightstones to ensure it wasn't a No Mana Zone. But how to cross? Mo could jump, but Vryce could use Walk on Air. So Vryce picked up Hjalmarr and walked him over at Extra-Heavy Encumbrance. Once they got there they realized there was another, identical pit. So Vryce used up some of his FP and shuffled most of the group to the middle, and then from the middle to the far end.
The far end was a short bit of corridor . . . which terminated in a cave floored with earth. It was full of trees! Mo couldn't identify the type, but they were appropriate the the climate around Felltower and Stericksburg. White seed pods floated around on the air, in the not-quite-still air. They could see a canopy of leaves overhead, but it was dark, with no sign of sunlight, and the trunks kept going up past the first layer of leaf-filled branches. A faint glow came from ahead. The trees seemed normal, except for where they were. They heard crickets, perhaps, and saw ants going up and down one of the trees. ("What size?" asked Hjalmarr's player. Me: "Normal size." - queue relieved look. Me: "Normal for a dungeon, I mean. Three, four feet long." "No, no, I don't like that." Heh.) No animals were seen, but normal bugs, sure, plenty of them.
They moved carefully ahead, checked for tracks. Mo found some - some bipeds and some quadrupeds. He decided they might be consistent with vegepygmies and thorn hounds aka thornies. And yes, they were. Quite clearly, distinctly vegepygmy prints. They moved with care toward the glow. In the center of a rough circle of nine thick trees was a pair of pillars with a fair glowing shimmer between them. A gate! Unlike the stone pillars they were used to, these were wood, twisted with vines and clearly growing out of the ground. They lacked branches or leaves but were definitely living. They quickly decided this must be a "forest gate" or an "earth gate" to go with the fire gate, air gate, and suspected water gate they'd found.
They didn't want to go through the gate without having Scry Gate or their druid, so they headed back, repeating the steps that got them in. Before that, though, they cast Seek Earth on gold and on silver, and identified both of them as being back the way they came. The silver was closer.
From there they headed back to the original portcullis room and out to the other direction, toward the silver (maybe.) They turned left and found the intersection with the pit down, but passed it by. They reached the "werewolf door." They readied their silver and silvered weapons and forced the door and rushed in . . . to an empty room. The werewolves were gone.
What they found instead was a room with two exits - a fairly mundane door to the right, and at the base of a "T" a pair of 15' tall doors chained shut. With a lock? No, just chained with links made of 4-5" diameter iron, some 6-8' feet of the ground, run through huge staples mounted into the walls.
They briefly considered them and left by the other door.
From there they found more tunnels. One of them led to a bright area. In it was a room lined with columns, made of creamy white marble, with a blue-painted vaulted ceiling above. The columns were fluted and decorated. At the end were a pair of impressively large columns with a shimmering in between them. A gate!
From there they headed to a new area, and found a room. Mo forced the door open and broke the lock that had held it shut. In it was a wooden chest with two 6' pole through the loops, one broken partly off. There were drag marks to show the chest had been moved in just far enough so the door wouldn't hit it. The room was otherwise empty.
They investigated and found the chest wasn't trapped, just latched shut, but was slightly tilted. Looking under, they found two potion vials with their tops off wedged under it. If the chest moved, they'd fall over, open. A lip around the bottom edge of the chest made it harder to see them. (Jaspar couldn't figure out how you'd set this. Clearly not enough time spent catching bugs in jars.)
Detect Magic revealed them both as magical. Jaspar wondered what could be in it. The suggested ranged from "ghosts!" to pretty much "ghosts." Unable to figure out a way to shift the chest without risk, they had Gwynneth cast Create Earth. The Dirt Mage did her thing, and they packed the dirt around the box and opened it. In it was loot (4725 sp, 15 empty potion vials that clearly had once held potions, and a SM-1 potion belt.) They took it all, swapping in more dirt to balance the chest. Mo wanted to check for false bottoms and started to move the dirt into the lid until that started to tip the chest. He stopped, and they moved it around and checked slowly. They found none.
Alaric wanted to recover the potions, somehow, and had a plan. (I didn't pay attention to it.) They spend some more time on Alaric's plan to get the potions, but most of the group had little interest in risk for what may or may not be useful potions. So they left it there over Alaric's objections.
On the way out, they discovered another room with a black hemisphere on the ceiling. Mo pointed out they don't want to be zapped by those purple rays, so they held back and let Alaric shoot it with his Cornucopia arrows until it shattered. They moved on from there, back to the pit down.
At the end they decided to lower Alaric down into the put with Night Vision and possibly Flight on him, but I suggested they do not. It was late - about 30 minutes past the time I prefer to stop - and only one of two things could happen. A) Nothing, so it wasn't worth doing, or B) Something, and that would take a long time to resolve. Better to do that in the future. So, with that, they headed to the surface.
We got off to a slow start today because I had some computer problems. Short version - it keeps locking up. I may have solved this last night, though, by deleting two new programs I'd installed. But a couple of reboots and some caution about what I had open helped. Tech problems are the downside of playing out of Word document.
I was distracted by this enough that I forgot to hand out the results of Vryce's research. We rolled for it and I sent it by email.
Mo started use off right with his first use of Sex Appeal. And Gwennyth's player was a good sport about playing up his character as totally smitten by Mo.
The ooze fight took about two hours of real time. Oozes are tough, they're slow to kill without area effect or explosive spells, and they regenerate fast. The PCs started out a little parsimonious with the spells, too, which mean the first few seconds - when the oozes were clumped up the most - they weren't ready with a mega-big fireball to destroy them. Still, I don't regret using the oozes. They've been appearing as they have for a reason, and starting the fight with a single arrow from a scout while the rest of the party was unready wasn't a good approach.
Speaking of oozes, corrosion damage is pretty nasty. Ike got off easy, not losing an eye permanently. The PCs had a lot of damaged gear that now needs Repair spells to fix. I used the DR/HP charts for weapons from LTC2, which I wrote years back. That goodness, because I needed them today. I was doing Basic Set damage until I realized DFRPG simplifies it to "destroyed at -1 x HP" so we swapped to that. I probably should just pick one system for all inanimate object damage. The PCs will probably prefer to roll, and that's how we've done doors, so I may go with that.
Jasper was pretty desperate to find, and fight, the werewolves. This despite being the least well-equipped to fight them. They didn't find them. Not all foes "live" in the room they are encountered in. Or stay there after a fight. Everything reacts. The werewolves clearly reacted to a number of deaths with leaving or moving.
XP was 5 apiece (4 xp loot, 1 xp exploration) except for Vryce (1 xp exploration). MVP was Gwenneth for all those invaluable Explosive Fireballs. Vryce needs 20K to make his threshold, 5k to even get 2 xp, so ~700 wasn't going to cut it.
I felt pretty happy they found some silver, since they've had a hard go of it with treasure. This one could easily have been a dry trip if it hadn't been for that. The potions they left in their precarious situation, which probably just means a special trip in the future to try and recover them intact. That should be interesting. It's always easier to pull the pin on the grenade then to put it back to recover the grenade.