Monday, May 08, 2006

Deeper Means Deadlier

Sorry for not getting this out in a timely manner, but my allergies kicked up this past Sunday and I have been fighting a severe bout of depression so I hope you all understand. Anyway....
May 6th we played another game of D&D at John and Audrey's. The size of the gang increased significantly this time. Gone were Sir Galotte the aasimar paladin and Mondavi the fire safety inspector (the paladin and rogue gone simultaneously?.....hmmm). In their places were Gin or Jin or Djinn however he spells his name, who is a human, twin bastard-sword wielding Quisanart; Arvenal? the elven ranger; and Ix (he says it's a short form of his actual name, I think his full name is Ixitxichitl), the cleric of Pelor (but not that kind of cleric). These were played by Ken C., Brian Q., and John H., respectively. The 'old hats' were Flaine, my human bard; Laurel, Audrey's drunken, female elf sorcerer with a penchant for deep blue eyeshadow; and Link, Mike's warforged scout archer with his chain-armored, celestial leopard (whose name I have forgotten for the sixth time).
The game took a while to get started because we had newcomers putting the finishing touches on their characters and we had to sell the loot we procured from the previous adventure. It was during that interlude that we met and roleplayed with the new characters and asked them to join our 'selfless' cause in rescuing the missing orphans.
Having cleared out the first level, we took the elevator room to the second level which we noticed was carved out of a darker rock - malachite, it turns out. Well, the Mystery of the Mace seems to be nearing completion! (See my previous post with the same pic if you're confused). Then Ix hammered a spike through the chains of the elevator to keep it from moving or at least letting us know at a distance if the elevator was in use. Then we found a secret door that had another lever in it to (hopefully) keep the elevator down while we were traipsing about in this deeper level. To further bolster this point, no pun intended, we wound the lever in silk rope and tied it down in the down position (adventurers are such prudent souls...). Then Flaine Gilgahar (that would be my bard) opened the door out of the elevator room and saw a quartet of hobgoblins that turned to notice me. One of them grunted something. Not knowing Undercommon or Goblin, I went erect and saluted like a Prussian Hussar, while summarily closing the door. The party groaned their dissatisfaction. Gin Tanqueray then opened the door and intimidated the hobgoblins to come into our room. After all four marched in, we demanded they tell us some information, but Ix could not contain his hatred for these foul creatures and started slicing with wild abandon (Laurel simultaneously started shooting magic missiles from her wand, as well). Combat!
Three were dead and one unconscious. Link says, "Let's bind this one and question him."
Gin says, "COUP DE GRACE!!"
Link says, "nevermind..."
Venturing further, we find an ogre with a large falchion. I don't remember much about this battle for some reason. But I think we killed him. I think his last words were, "Zo'molog, chop!"
Then as the party moved past a strange stalagmite, it animated into some weird golem and though it did some damage, we did destroy it.
Now we had a choice, a secret door to the right and a normal door to the left (gone are those pesky and atrocious gear doors of the gnomes - thank Pelor!). We decide to open the secret door and go in. Inside is apparently a temple or memorial of some kind. A great statue of Zenith Splintershield (some dwarf hero) and a statue of a xorn at each corner with flames erupting from their mouths providing illumination. Around the dwarf statue's legs was a wrapped, barbed chain. Well, the party inspects the chamber and spends an inordinate amount of time hemming and hawing which caused a group of four hobgoblins, two automatons (I think they were pulverizers) and a half-dwarf/half-troll, oh and let's top off this cavalcade of fun with an animated barbed chain, you know, the one wrapped around the dwarf's legs?
All I remember is blood, cussing and screaming. I remember "Get the hell outta here!" "We're in over our heads!" and someone cried "Daddy!" but I dunno who that could be.
I began to get visions from the movie Black Hawk Down.
I ran around with my much maligned and maltreated wand of cure light wounds, jabbing and prodding everyone I could to my deligh-- er um, to my great constipa-- er uh... consternation. (My bard has an issue with wands... I probably need to see a cleric of Pelor about that, I tried to see Ix about it but he grabbed his holy symbol and cried, "I'm not that kind of cleric!"). So anyway after the numbness of battle subsided, I noticed that Gin was down. I rushed over to cure him. He crawled over to the side of me, attacking the automaton while prone. Though the party tried to concentrate their firepower on the half-troll, we ultimately failed. The automaton struck me after I healed Gin and I was in a near coma on the floor.
I'm not sure how I came to, but I remember the secret door closing with a thud and our getting into the elevator and returning to town.
It was during this interim that we gained 3rd level. Or 2nd for the newbies or the warforged.
I played a few ditties at the Tipped Tankard Tavern for a few goldies. It was then that I gained my feat, Lingering Song. After getting a bit tipsy with Gin at the bar, we felt like we could take them on the next day.
We make our way back down the elevator and guess what? The hobgoblins built a barricade of stout wood and were firing arrows at us from behind it. (This battle reminded me of the Tantive IV sequence in Star Wars: Episode IV or the Rue de Clerguet scene in Les Miserables). I instantly began playing my masterwork mandolin to inspire courage in the party. Laurel opened her mouth, which was not unusual, but the electrical bolt that mouth let loose, was. Whether that was a spell or something to do with sorcerers being of the kin of dragons I don't know. Maybe if I had Knowledge (arcana) or something, I would. And coming in from behind the hobgoblins was another automaton. Oh goodie! Gin and Arvonal moved in to melee with the hobs, while Link and his cat were messing around with the automaton. In the end, all opponents were slain.
This time, we went to the normal wooden door to the left. This led to the chamber we affectionately call... The Crap Room. (I thought maybe this was a portal to the Demiplane of Crapola, but my character wouldn't know that...). Some artistic soul marked with genius decided to do something... I dunno... festive... with the excessive amout of excrement piled up in this room and shaped a kind of throne out of it. Oh boy! Who's gonna sit on that and crown himself king? Link had no compunction about going in there to search around. (I guess constructs are like that). He came out with a smelly wooden chest filled with copper and silver. Gin complained, "Man, that's some crappy treasure." (Ba-dum, bum, bum).
We then opened the secret door to the dwarf memorial to discover... that the room was empty and the chain was missing. We made our way beyond to the south and Arvenal nearly fell into a pit with poisoned spikes at the bottom. Gin helped him up and out of it. Gin then broke apart the wooden barricade the hobgoblins used earlier and made a makeshift bridge over the pit. Then Link nearly fell into another one nearby. Gin helped him out of it. We opened a couple rooms only to find another quartet of hobgoblins. After dispatching them easily enough, we found a lever that disabled one of the pit traps and then opened the double doors that led to the auction hall. Here, the half-troll/half-dwarf, the chain, a duergar and another four hobgoblins were selling the orphans. I think the duergar was the buyer. As soon as we opened the doors, a beholder teleported in and demanded one of the enslaved children and said he would return him to the orphanage. (Yeah, right! A good-aligned beholder. Now, I've seen everything). And then after he received the child, he teleported away. WTF?? I think the following dialogue took place like so...
Ix: "Give us the children!"
Duergar: "I've already paid for them. They're mine."

I forgot to mention that the half-troll/half-dwarf had a pet howler with him.... sorry. So here we go again... I play a courageous ballad, Link lets his cat loose and fires his bow, Gin cries havoc and lets slip the bastards of war, Laurel uses her wand more than Harry Potter, Arvenal lets fly with his arrows, while Ix goes down in front of the howler. I stopped playing my mandolin and rushed over to jam him with the cure wand. He heals 7 hp. He gets up. Howler hits him on an attack of opportunity for 7 hp. Ix goes back down. (It reminded me of Dungeon Siege. Or maybe an old Yes song: I get uuuuuup. I get dowwwwwwnn). My wand had one charge left on it by the end of the battle. After dispatching all involved, including finally taking out the half-troll and Gin pouring oil all over him and igniting him, we approached the duergar. He demanded payment for the slaves we stole from him or else he would attack us. We were already pretty badly beat as it was. Laurel and Ix were adamant about not paying this low-life as that would, in principle, make us slavers as well. I could see it either way: either we save the children's lives now or we risk losing the children for honor's sake. Flaine is a little more pragmatic than that, I'll take the former option. Gin gave the duergar the money (450 gp) before we even reached a consensus. He took the cash and disappeared. Ix responded with a few expletives. Gin merely looked at Flaine and shrugged.
We took the children back to the Church of St. Cuthbert (because, Gin reminded us, that's where the money is). We were well rewarded by the clergy. Ix, Link and I visited the orphanage to see if the fourth child was sent there by the beholder. Evidently, he was, but not by the beholder; by a woman in black robes. And therein hangs a tale....
We went back down to clear out the lower level and rescue more slaves. We rescued another five or six slaves. We also found a treasure trove and a letter which the half-troll apparently gave no mind to and threw away. It was written by another villain I'm sure we'll have to deal with in the future. We go back up with the haul, and news of our exploits are described in the periodical, The Cauldron Bubble.
'Link's lads...." what am I? Chopped liver?
Oh, thank you citizen Fario Ellegoth for comparing us to the Stormblades! Hey alright! Now I bet we have to confront these bozos while we injure their pride.
Maybe our party needs some badass moniker. Like... The Order of the Blue Flaine. or The Wandjammers... or I dunno. We'll come up with something.
It was a very splendid game all told. I had fun. This game went to 9 hours instead of the 12 I'm used to. But, again, everyone had a great time and I look forward to continuing the quest on the 20th. See y'all there, ya hear?

P.S. Oops! I forgot to mention: John P. was kind enough to roast some wieners and hamburgers for us while we were there (not to mention the occasional microbrew) and Ken brought over his family recipe BBQ sauce that went very well with the burgers. I like sweet BBQ sauce, and I like the fact that even in this day and age tradition is not a creed outworn. Thanks to John and Audrey for the wonderful feast!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must confess a deeply felt satisfaction while DM'ing this session. I truly felt I've done my job if the party is in total chaos during an encounter, and we saw plenty of that last session.

A name for this group would be good. It would give The Cauldron Bubble something to latch onto, and if the group doesn't pick their own name soon then someone else will. You probably don't want to be stuck with "Link's Lads" . . .

I really enjoy this group, its great role playing all around. Several times now, I've just sat back and watched the interplay. And I really know the group is having fun when they start quoting lines from Aliens.

BTW, the expletive that Ix muttered was something like "You F***in' Idiot!". Sometimes clerics can be so difficult . . ., but they can sure cuss!

Other notes . . .

After further investigation the lady in the dark robes had a "noble" demeanor about her.

Fario Ellegoth has been seen in the company of another fellow and both seem interested in various members of the party.

And yes, the Storm Blades seem to be giving you some dirty looks . . .

See ya at the table!


10:30 AM  

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