Friday, February 13, 2015

Competition follows!
[5e Dwimmermount]

Upon their return to the entrance of Dwimmermount, though they were certain they had closed the red doors when they departed they found them now ajar. Cautiously approaching down the steps they saw that stacks of broken furniture had been assembled at the foot of the stairs. It was impossible to enter the room without crawling over the furniture.

During the previous session the PCs could hear the sounds of running men in the hall south of where they fortified and rested, these were the orcs. Unbeknownst to the PCs, the orcs were barricading the room of statues then circling around to regroup in a deeper section of the dungeon, but the orcs ran into the gelatinous cube and lost two more of their number. This was determined randomly by me. The cube still had about 80 hit points and I decided on the fly that the orcs would not expect to run into the cube. There were 7 orcs and I rolled a d6 to determine how many would get caught and couldn't extricate themselves, the cube got two of them. These five orcs then retreated to the second level of the dungeon where their leader, distressed by their failures, sent them back up to redeem themselves for their cowardice. They had laid a trap at the entrance, but this didn't work as expected.

Tsetsig used Thaumaturgy to scatter some of the furniture and they discovered that there were small bells strung from the broken pieces of furniture. The sounds of Bestial language could be heard echoing from deeper in the room and a torch came sailing across the room. The furniture did not catch fire very quickly due to it being scattered, but Braak was able to translate the sounds of Bestial talk that could be heard. "They're retreating and regrouping to the west," he whispered to Horatius. "Great, we're going to explore to the east then!" Horatius replied.

At the beginning of this session, I recapped the events of the previous session and made sure that two of the players had index cards with the stats for the two NPCs that were following the group: Climent Belary and Braak. Braak is a goblin and was hired as a torchbearer by Horatius. Climent is primarily an alchemist, and not suited for adventuring into dungeons. However, he knows the Light cantrip and essentially acts as another torchbearer. The players holding the index cards are in charge of controlling the NPCs, though I did stipulate some actions the NPCs would always take. This saved me time to focus on the dungeon and encounters. (Oh yeah, all of my DMing notes and explanations will be in italics now.)

The group confidently moved through the eastern rooms, stopping to occasionally listen at doors, but finding mostly dust and the tracks of orcs that had been camping here the day before. They entered a circular room with a gallery of masks, and a single corpse. Examining the corpse revealed that it had been lying there for several decades, perhaps longer. Tsetsig Detected Magic in the masks. Gaius took one of the masks off of the wall and triggered a trap that released noxious gas into his face. He coughed and sputtered but walked away unhurt. Tsetsig proceeded to use Thaumaturgy to remove the masks from the walls while the rest of the party remained outside of the room.

Exploring further east, they found themselves at a locked door. Brüghaht picked the lock and threw the door open, only to find himself face to face with an ancient undead warrior, it's glowing blue eyes regarded him hatefully and it stepped forward, ready for violence. Tsetsig realized that many of the jeweled trinkets in this room were military symbols of the Thulian empire, and he tried to command the wight in the Anicent Thulian language to stand down - it seemed to recognize the language but ignored what was said. Ilona rushed forward and battled the wight, and while she was assisted by Horatius and Braak she took grievous injuries before it was felled. The party surveyed the room and realized it was filled with treasure and a perfect place to barricade themselves and rest. A small fire was pitched and Tsetsig went about Identifying the magic items they had acquired while Ilona rested and Gaius inventoried the trinkets and gold they had discovered.

In the original room description (Level 1 - Room 7), the wight's treasure trove is listed as "worth 8,000 gp and weigh 500 lbs." My already-established changes to this system meant that I had 2d800 to roll for the gold piece value of the trinkets and I rolled low, ending up with a value of about 680 in gold pieces but I kept the overall weight the same.
There were a handful of magic items in this room as well. I used the new 5e stats for a Brooch of Shielding and Wand of Magic Missiles but the sword that was listed had cooler flavor text then the "sword +1" that was listed as its magic enhancement. I kept the sword's description
"a slightly-curved single edged adamantine steel blade" but dropped the +1 enhancement - if the sword is used against undead or demons it will count as a magical weapon, but is otherwise unexceptional.
The Thulian War-Masks from the circular room I kept virtually identical to the way they were described but expanded their powers so that the +1 bonus against orcs and other beastmen applied to more types of rolls.

Outside of the locked room, the party could hear the sounds of movement. Somebody had walked past the door but hadn't tried to enter, the sounds of conversation could be heard in the hall, then raised voices turned to the sounds of battle. The group unbarred the door and ventured out to see four humans engaged in a fight with orcs in the circular room where the Thulian War-Masks had been pilfered. The supposed leader of this group fell to one of the orcs, and his assumed lover called out his name "Sken!", then Ilona and Horatius stepped into the room and cut the rest of the orcs down swiftly.

The orcs returned from the east, but didn't find the PCs and so they explored the parts of the level they already knew about - while avoiding the cube in the main hallway of the level. Assuming the invaders had fled outside, the orcs set up a watch at the entrance again and planned to follow any who would enter, and this is where the rival adventuring party came in.

One of these men, who had hurled Fire Bolts at the orcs, thanked the party for their help but insisted that these orc heads were theirs to claim. An argument ensued over who could claim the orc heads and one of the men struck Gaius and another battle began in earnest. The remaining three were cut down quickly, though not before Horatius was turned temporarily insane. In a bit of brilliant spell-managing, Gaius cast a Crown of Madness upon Horatius in order to control his wild thrashing about. "It seems we've got competition now," remarked Tsetsig, who then set about Detecting Magic that these humans were carrying.

When he recovered, Horatius went about the bloody work of cutting off orc heads. The party rested for a few minutes to give Tsetsig time to Identify new magic items carried by the humans. A noose that could Resurrect the wearer and a bone that could fill the room with the smell of cooking meat if it was chewed upon. Hearing about the noose, Brüghaht set about dismembering the body of Sken. Tsetsig put the noose around his own neck and handed the bone to Braak who proceeded to chew on it constantly. The party then moved deeper into the Path of Mavors.

This rival adventuring party is the first one described on a post by Goblin Punch. I used them as written, but any hope of diplomacy deteriorated quickly. I also rolled randomly for the magic bone from another post by Goblin Punch.

The group found evidence in deeper rooms of the failed dwarven expedition. Being led by Horatius, they worked their way to the long hallway with the gelatinous cube and circled around looking for a place to hide from the strange creature. Finding a room filled with more dwarven corpses, they bolted the door behind them in the hopes that the cube would not be able to force its way in. One of the bodies held a map for "the Path of Mavors" and it appeared familiar to what they had already explored.

This is where we called the end of the session (Level 1 - Room 16).

Everybody is still having a fun time with this adventure. We're not playing this coming weekend, which is a little distressing because we are all eagerly looking forward to playing again.

The adventurers' map currently looks like this...