Thursday, May 31, 2012

Westmist / Stonehell Session #3

Erijay, having fled the dungeon and made her way back to the surface, stopped to collect her breath and thoughts. While doing so, there emerged from the dungeon entrance a dwarf, Gudrin by name and one of the companions of Snorri Broadshoudlers. Having helped wipe out the orcs, Gudrin showed unusual sympathy (for a dwarf) toward the elf maid and decided to follow her and  to both ensure she was unharmed and also in no way responsible for the loss of her companions. And he was frankly getting tired of going over rooms with a fine-tooth comb with Snorri, and burned for more exciting adventure. As Erijay told the story of the demise of her companions to the sympathetic dwarf, there also arrived Wallow, a cleric of Habuu looking for great deeds to perform to further the glory of his god. After short discussion, Wallow  quickly signed on with the dwarf and elf for an immediate expedition to bring the  vengeance of the great Habuu against the orcs below. 

Descending into the dungeon, the group first returned  to the scene of the battle with the rats and liberated some equipment for Erijay from the remains of poor Paot. Checking out the old orc guardpost, they now encountered some wild men tearing the orc bodies  apart, so they wisely choose to head elsewhere. They went looking for another route around the orcs hideout, and soon came upon a strange room with frescos on the wall and two statues of armoured men pointing at each other from opposite corners. Trying to pass between them set off a flash of lighting which singed both Erijay and Wallow. The redoubtable Gudrin tried to twist one statue and succeeded in turning it a little so at least the bolt was less likely to go off when they passed through. While all this was going on, a pack of giant ferrets approached from the opposite side, leaving after a short Mexican standoff and before the trio could find out if the lighting bolt was triggered by rodents. They soon heard the ferrets encounter the wild men and a battle could be heard in the distance.  

Passing the trapped room, the adventurers arrived in the second orc guard room where Merrick had been lost. The room was now empty, but a door was noted at the north end. Busting open the door, Gudrin faced off against the three orcs inside, one of them a massive creature. Tossing his crossbow to Erijay so she could provide covering fire, the dwarf rushed into the room  swinging his hammer, quickly followed by Wallow and his mace. The elf's missile fire proved deadly, while the hammer and mace of Gudrin and Wallow began to slam into the orcs. Alas, the vengeance of Habuu was short lived as Wallow fell to a well placed axe swing  moments before Gudrin and Erijay finished off the orcs. Searching the room (and stripping their dead companion of useful supplies), the pair uncovered a sack of gold coin and a gold armband. Erijay also liberated a finely crafted battleaxe from the dead orc leader.  Further investigation uncovered a halfling tied in a sack under the bed, and thus did Turrick join the remaining companions. 

Choosing to go in the opposite direction this time, the group found a room of old smashed statues and liberated another small sack of silver and gold, along with a mysterious key. They also watched from hiding as a band of kobolds and other unknown creatures made their way down a set of stairs, thereby finding their first way down to the lowered levels. However, rather than descend at this point, they instead backtracked to an alcove  with a strange glowing gylph. After puzzling over it for a  while, the impetuous halfling jumped up and touch it, and promptly disappeared. Unknown to the other two, Turrik found himself in a small room with no visible doors and filed with books, star charts and broken alchemical equipment. Seeing another glyph, he grabbed a star chart and touched it reappearing in front of his companions to tell them the tale. Erijay then choose to enter the room the same way, and recovered a large tome a magical writing for later study. 

Somewhat battered and getting late in the day, the trio returned to Westmist to rest and refit. Turrick tried to raise some cash by selling (hopefully magical) mushrooms to Sythini the Alchemist, but with no luck. Gudrin visited the Temple of the Four Virtues to return Wallows holy symbol and make an offering in memory of his lost companion, for which the priests expressed their thanks and gratitude. After unsuccessfully trying to recruit another cleric to replace Wallow, the trio settled down in the Golden Drake for a well deserved meal and rest before heading out on adventure again.   

Friday, May 18, 2012

Westmist/Stonehell Session #2

Returning to the dungeon after a weeks' absence, the trio descended once more. Paot again insisted on visiting the body room, which this time was empty of cadavers. Quickly taking sample of the liquid in the casks, they then moved on to explore new areas, but first bumped into a kobold work crew hauling trash. Merrick questioned these friendly dungeon denizens and discovered that the kobolds looked after the dungeon and kept in in repair. The kobolds also revealed that they were collecting bodies for sale to the Gentleman Ghouls "down below", whatever that meant.
Leaving the kobolds to their work, the group moved deeper into the dungeon. Opening one door and encountering a group of wild looking and obviously dangerous men huddled around a cooking fire, they beat a hasty retreat. After poking around a few empty rooms, and discovering a clutch of recently hatched large leathery egg shells, the trio then stumbled upon an orcish guard post. Chased by arrows, they turned tail and fled, then regrouped to make a plan. Leaving the torch behind, Paot crept back towards the orcs to discover their numbers and defenses. Bringing that info back to Merrick and Erijay, it was decided Erijay would cast her sleep spell and take out all the orcs in one blow. This done, their throats were quickly slit and bodies looted, uncovering a handful of silver and a flask of dwarven brandy. 

Retreating before the orcs companions could discover them, the three headed in the opposite direction. They soon came to a pair of stone doors carved with a danse macabre. Beyond, a large room filled with moss and grazing fire beetles was traversed, and a number of rooms with signs of death and funeral rites were explored. Discovering a secret passage, the trio was trapped in the space by a shuffle of zombies, who soon fell to the blades of our adventurers. At this point, the decision was made to head above ground to camp for the night (having been warned to not sleep in the dungeon). On the way out, they made the unsettling discover of a wall where there had not been one before; someone or something was playing with the very structure of the dungeon. Safely above ground, the night passed without incident (with the exception of a visit by a kobold work crew), and the three again regained the depths.

Deciding to circle around whatever the orcs had been guarding, the group encounter the dwarf Snorri Broadshoulders and his companions, deep in study of the dwarven workmanship in this part of the dungeon. Conversation ensured, Snorri expressing his dislike of both elves and orcs to Merrick. Trying to mend fences, Erijay offered a drink from her recently discovered flask of dwarven brandy, only to have Snorri snatch it away as it had been owned by one of their companions lost earlier to the orcs. Rather than push their luck with the surly bearded fellows, the trio moved on and found the 'back entrance' to the orc guard post. This room proved to be the orcs midden, occupied by another pack of giant rats. A plan was hatched to deal with the rats and smoke out the orcs. Paot would douse the trash pile in oil, then Merrick would light it and burn the rats out. Unfortunately, while dousing the trash, Paot disturbed the rats and was immediately swarmed by 15 of the verminous creatures. In a panic, Merrick hurled his torch at the pile, engulfing the rats in flame and wiping out most of the swarm. And unfortunately, poor Poat. There was no time to mourn for their friend, though, as all the ruckus had attracted the orcs. These were quickly dispatched by Erijay's sleep spell and Merrick's blade. 

Pressing forward, Merrick and Erijay encounter another group of orcs. Out of magic this time, they fought bravely with their blades, but alas poor Merrick was felled by the evil creatures. Erijay, in desperation, dropped all she could and ran. Staying barely ahead of the orcs and dodging blows, the swift elf lead the orcs directly to the waiting dwarves, who then slew the lot. Not that Erijay stayed to find out; she didn't slow down until out of the dungeon and back on the road to Westmist with just the armor on her back and not a single copper to her name.

Westmist/Stonehell Session #1

The campaign opened with our three adventurers arriving at the east gate of the town of WESTMIST, last outpost of civilization before the Great River and the Untamed Lands beyond.  Merrick, the none to bright farm boy turned fighter, and the elven wanderers Paot and Erijay, had separately followed the rumors of wealth and fame to be found in the depths of Stonehell dungeon. Meeting on the road, they elected to join forces and pool their talents and wealth. Well, talents anyway, since a quick check of everyone's money purse revealed they probably didn't have enough coin to get through the town gate, let alone buy a meal or find a room for the night. So they elected to tackle the mysteries of Stonehell dungeon without delay.

After a cautious approach through the ruined curtain wall, the trio quickly moved to the far west end of the canyon to the gaping dungeon entrance. A quick visit to the hot pool and waterfall, and then it was deep into the gates of Stonehell. Initial exploration of an old kitchen and dining hall reveled nothing of interest except a mysterious man shaped stain on the floor. After puzzling over this for some time, the band elected to head through the ogre  and devil archway to a four way intersection marked with a sign saying "Da' Dragons Den " and an arrow pointing to the left. An overeager Erijay was about to head straight into the dragon's maw, but her companions' cooler heads prevailed and they choose instead to explore further ahead. This lead to a grizzly discovery, a room with a pile of fresh humanoid bodies stacked like cord wood. Further exploration was cut short when the trio disturbed a nest of giant rats who swarmed the group and had to be fought off, but not before all three were bit and began to come down with fevers. 

With a hasty exit and some days to recover, and the trio again returned to the dungeon and back to the mysterious room. More mysterious, a different selection of bodies were now in the room. Apart from some casks of a mysterious liquid and linens however, there were no other clues in the room.

With further exploration, a mysterious talking head was discovered, to whom three questions were presented. The answers were rather cryptic, but one suggested they had missed a significant  treasure somewhere in their searches. This sent the group back through areas already explored in a quest for hidden doors and compartments. In the process, a brace of spitting cobras and then a nest of giant centipedes was distributed. One centipede stung Erijay, who then became to weak to continue any further. As they made their way back to  the dungeon entrance, Paot insisted on having one more look in the body room. While searching through the linens, Merrick discovered a hidden compartment under a loose flagstone that proved to contain a hoard of silver coins and gems. At last a reward for their toils! 

Returning to town, the trio were fleeced by the guards at the gate and directed to the seediest dive in town, the Foam and Whistle, for a meal and a bed. Electing to not share the only private room with a band of cutthroats, they instead settled in the common room. Over the next week while Erijay recovered from the centipedes' poisoning, Merrick and Paot replenished supplies, upgraded armour and weapons and prepared for anther delve into Stonehell.

House Rules - Westmist/Stonehell Campaign

For everyone's information, these are the current house rules for the Westmist/Stonehell campaign:

1)      “Healing in a Low-Magic Campaign”
2)      “Carousing”
3)      “Cantrips” for Magic users only. Elves already have enough advantages.
4)      D30 Rule: once per session, any roll normally performed on a d20 (save, attack, whatever) can be rolled on a d30 instead.
I'm sure more will be added from time to time, but this will do for now.