The session went pretty awesome. We had scheduled 5 or so hours, but people were so into it we pushed it to twelve, and played till dawn. Last minute changes and schedule conflicts got us
CG Halfling swashbuckler 1//rogue 1
LG human cleric 1//healer 1
LE human samurai 1//warlock 1
NG hobgoblin binder 1//facotum 1
LN changeling rogue 1//duskblade 1
I had everyone start at the inn of the slumbering drake, and have a rough knowledge of each other. The cleric and swashbuckler worked for the church (the mayor is the head of a church, so we homebrewed a diety), and the samurai and the binder were from neighboring tribes to the north. So everyone gravitated to tables quickly, and talked about rumors.
I gave them the owlbear rumor right off. Arien the drunk was stumbling about talking about slavers, and I had Michael the tavernmaster talk about his missing son (who was our 6th player, who couldn’t make it this session), with a 25gp reward.. None of them were really biting, so I had Chauntessa tell them there was a 50gp reward for each book found.
They liked that, so they went to the library on the night of Oct 3 to research. They learned a bit about the monk order of librarians, learned about owlbears, and meet up with the duskblade while there, who was researching similar topics. They decide to unite for great justice, and go back to the inn. I had Arien the drunk give his sob story to the duskblade again, who promised he would rescue the slaves.
In the morning, they found Quintos the Alchemist and bought some potions from him. They also agreed to look for interesting blobby bits. With that, they left.
I set Castle Whiterock about 50 miles to the east, with the owlbear being 45. They decided to take 3 days to get there, and set some good defenses. Rotating watch each night, tripwires with alarm bells, caltrops, even a crossbow trap. They met some caravans on the way, who helped them narrow down the location of the owl bear.
On the 2nd night, I hit them with a team of hobgoblins. The person on watch made his checks and woke the party as I got close, so I didn’t get a surprise round. The party fired off a dancing lights right as I loosed arrows, so my guys were suddenly highlighted. With the terrain being marshy, it was a primarily a long distance fight – bows, crossbows, and rays.
They killed my leader, wounded two others, and got the last two to surrender. The party learned that they attacked random caravans and sold the loot to the Scimitar and the Sheild, inside town. The Binder let them go after stripping them, but the duskblade snuck after them and finished them off. Total loot was longbows, short swords, and a +1 long sword which I gave to the hobgoblin PC.
As they approached Whiterock, the obelisks confused them. Doing some checks, I told them that the obelisks were some sort of abjuration, but not much more than that. They *did* find one that looked different; older, with gnomish letterings. With some effort, they found the entrance.
They didn’t feel comfortable going in without their mule, of course, so they spent the rest of the day making the hole wide enough for the animal. This was the night of Oct 6. With the dirt they moved, they made an embankment looking into the dungeon, and set up rows of caltrops and trip wires, with one man on watch.
As they were approximately in the dungeon, I rolled on the encounter table every two hours. xD. So every shift, the guard saw luminescent mist/cackling laughter/whatever and freaked out, waking everyone. They killed my stirges with a color spray, which made me sad. I still made them nervous when I approached them with the giant spider, but he just grabbed a stirge body and went back into the dungeon.
In the morning they were fatigued xD so had to sleep in a few hours. Once inside, they saw the crate and wooden beams. The binder took knowledge architecture, and he was an engineering major for a few years IRL, so he loves things like this. He figured out how to bust the beams to only do part of the ceiling dropping, and they fired off some eldritch blasts.
… which, immediately, dropped 3 skellies. I downed the lock with a hit and a crit, and had to ad hoc decide the skellies only had one axe, not three. Otherwise I would have lost a pc on the first combat of the dungeon, which makes me sad. Still carved him nicely, and the cleric rushed in with a quickened turning and cure light wounds. The encounter still gave them reason to treat this dungeon as srz bsns.
They didn’t find the pit trap, so the Halfling immediately fell in. the party was in a complete panic, he was failing his swim roles and drowning, party was pulling out rope, I was describing huge rats swimming closer.. yeah. The tension was excellent, and they slowly pulled him out. The player vowed to take swimming next level xD
The party decided that must be where the dungeon goes, and searched for a place to hang a rope from, which showed them the secret door and rune. After a (lot of) discussion, they open it, weapons ready. Down the hall, they see three creatures, which they think are goblins for several hours of game time.
When I flip the cauldron and fire off a javelin, they decide the creatures are scared, not psychotic, and cautiously follow them to outside the gear room. They surround it, multiple players on each side, and the cleric goes in, diplomacizing, with a sanctuary up. He hits the trip wire, gears start attacking him, spears are being thrown, bedlam at the table.
The cleric drags himself out, and the party does some duck and cover with javelins and crossbows being used. 90% concealment is rough though, until the duskblade true strikes the gears with a shortsword, stopping the death trap. It’s an easy clearing from there, and the party leaves the bodies to go check out the stairs.
(samurai leaves this point, and I give him 510 xp)
The party is determined to bring the mule, so they put him right at the edge of the bridge, at the base of the stairs. They send the Halfling over, find the levers, mess around with them, figure out how the chains work. I want you to understand how cautious they are being – they tied ropes to each other ,the chain, and any outstanding beams of wood. They know the pit is at least 60 feet deep (dark vision), and that makes them nervous.
Once the chains are working, they send the Halfling down, with the all the aforementioned ropes and knots, and he scouts out the two ledges down below. He doesn’t enter, just doing a visual inspection, and comes back up. Cleric is out of healing spells, but they party thinks they can handle it, so they carefully ride the chain down (using a second rope tied to the level to turn it on).
The stairs in the mushroom room get their interest, and they encounter the owl bear. They stomp it to bits, using a lot of sneak attacks and tumbles, and the final blow of the binder (shield bash) pushes it into the dire rats, who start eating it immediately. The party falls back while the rats are busy, go to the chain, and set up camp near the levers.
Being the nice person I am, I send some more encounters against them at night. More mist, more gibbering laughter. At one point, the person on watch sees the mule tensing up. He looks up, and sees the mega spider slowly descending, venom dripping from its pincers. The player freaks out, wakes the party, the binder flares in flame… and the swashbuckler aims his crossbow and one shots it.
Next morning, party descends again, and checks out the door. My assassin vine immediately leaps out, lashing wildly. When the party steps back out of reach, entangling vines leap out of the ground to hold half the party. The binder is trying to free everyone, the duskblade leaps forward with a glaive, and I start twisting him like a dishrag. He goes down to -9.
The healer is panicking, trying to keep the duskblade alive, and everytime he heals him, I squeeze him for another handful of HP. They are running out of healing spells, my fire/cold resist and immunity to sneak attacks is keeping me up, and they are trying to dot me full of arrows. It takes nearly all of their healing spells to keep the duskblade up.
Oh, one funny thing. The cleric tried to summon something, was all set to use it for battle winning effect – and nothing happened. Quite ruined his zen, it did.
The swashbuckler managed the tumbler just fine, and they checked out the secret room. They did find the porticullis trap and tried to disarm it, but rolled a 1, so I decided it activated. He was very Indiana Jones – grabbed one chest, emptied into a bag, grabbed the other chest, and rolled under the porticullis before the party failed their strength check.
They do find the emblems interesting; some local and history knowledges let them know they should check out the Sign of the Silver Armiger. They sort out who gets what, and go down the hallway into the history elevator. The gnomes hear them coming, and when the party explores the mushroom field, ambushes them with javelins.
It’s an interesting little fight, and I down the cleric in the first round. They really only recover by using healing potions and repeated color sprays. They get my guys down, tie them up, find the secret stash, and learn a bit about the worship of the crystal. They also pull up the scalp rope while they think about what to do and rest.
On the morning of Oct 9, they remember that they have the silver door hallway unchecked, so the Halfling and the cleric go explore there, with the prisoners in tow. They proc the trap, of course, and the windburst impales on the prisoners on the portcullis spikes. The PCs take one spike each, as the Binder summoned his shield through the gate and covered most of them.
They were thinking of dropping the ledge on the lowest tier onto the island with explosives, but I said it wouldn’t hit the crystal. They did some measuring, and decided the chain would land on it quite nicely. They are pondering whether to try to rescue the prisoners/grab any treasure, or just drop the chain and call it a day. They are really worried about the crystal; I’ve used a lot of words like infection/mutations/insanity , and one character already started growing puckers when he experimented with some of the mold/crystals on the walls.
That was about 12 hours gaming, and I gave the remaining players 2197 xp, leveling them up.