Back for another report on the latest monthly session of my CW tabletop game! This time there were only three players to start with, with the fourth arriving late, halfway through the session. My fifth player canceled, and it turns out my sixth player had moved away to the coast, and has officially dropped from the game.
Stubs (4th level halfling rogue)
Mikhail (4th level human fighter)
Kory (4th level elven sorcerer)
Lisi (3rd level human healer (controlled by player of Mikhail))
Flask (4th level half-orc barbarian)
At the end of our last game, the group was about halfway through exploring the Clockwork Academy (level 4A) they had arrived by way of DCC 51.5, and as I had sealed off that surface exit from below, by this time they were out of food and facing starvation.
It's funny how blase players can be about getting into combats where their characters find themselves on death's door, but the thought of going hungry freaked some of them out. There was a LOT of grumbling and pleading to get out of the dungeon and to the surface for the first few hours. It's a technique this DM heartily approves of!
The group started by clearing out the central offices and rooms of the level, finding the hidden chamber with the book with no difficulty. The halfling rogue did trip the phantasmal killer trap, and failed the Will save, but he rolled lucky on the Fort save, and avoided dying. Lucky little bastard!
They left the scrolls, since they were so big and there were so many (I decided 20 scrolls, each weighing 20 pounds). They'll be in for a nasty surprise when they eventually return to claim them, haul them back to the surface...only to find they are worthless fakes! I'm chuckling evilly over it already...
In any event, after scouring the offices they tentatively set off to check out the dormitory. There they got sucked into a battle and finished off the lancer and ranged attack constructs. After running these, I've found that the Mark II lancers are okay, but the Mark Is and the ranged 'bots are not worth their CR. Having a CR 2 ranged attacker that only does 1d3 on a hit is not my idea of a tough combat. Still, it did manage to bleed them of more spells, and with the pressure on to get out before they started to starve, I thought I'd let it ride.
Rather than trying to force their way down the laundry chute, the gang then headed for the exit to the level by way of the organ room on level 4.
After that their progress was fairly straightforward. They made a beeline for the stairs to level 3, killed a few of the orc zombies and webbed the rest, then headed down the corridor to the room that provided access to level 2, whereupon they found themselves back in familiar territory. I did have one last surprise for them--a gelatinous cube as a wandering monster on the now largely vacant level 2, but they were able to badly maul it before it could engulf the fighter, then finish it off with spells before he could take any real damage.
Glad to be back, the group reunited with Flask (as the player finally arrived), and headed back to Cillamar to buy, sell, trade, and level up. As they had kept much of the magical loot for their own use, they didn't have too much gold left in individual shares (maybe 2,500 gp each, reduced by buying a type 2
or type 3 bag of holding
from their gross take). They bought a few scrolls of reduce person, the fighter got his sword enchanted, and the like. Then it was back to Whiterock!
The group intended to make a beeline back for the Clockwork Academy. However, this time they were unable to traverse level 3 unscathed. Their trooping down the hall alerted the bugbears, and the fight with the bugbears alerted the orc alchemist and his assistants. There followed a pitched battle that ended with all the adversaries dead save the alchemist, who surrendered with 1 hp remaining. (The bugbears had their escape cut off by another web
spell, so were forced to fight it out.) They interrogated their prisoner, finding out a bit about the layout of the level, then decided to use him as a "tour guide," manacled and put on a leash. One item of interest: the fighter Mikhail, who had been afflicted with the feral aura from the purple crystal of the Sih'hel in 51.5, managed to put his aura to good use in the interrogation. Definitely a "curse" that's been more of a boon than a problem to the group so far!
With their prisoner, they decided to check out the abandoned shrine/sparring room (missing the hidden compartment in the altar), then took on the orc barracks. This led to another pitched battle, the last of the session, where I got the fighter down to -3 hp at one point, then hit his recumbent form and brought him to -7 (as I only rolled a 2 on 1d10); the healer was then able to reach him and revive him--pesky cure jockey! More web spells were cast left and right, which helped keep the party from being swarmed, and they were able to finish off the orc warriors without too much more difficulty, thereby earning enough XP for all the PCs but Flask to have reached 5th level.
Die rolling was uneven throughout the game, with players having hot and cool spells, but they generally rolled better than not. That web spell has proven to be a nuisance--the DC for moving through webs is broken in 3.5; I may have to stipulate that a successful Strength check DC 20 allows moving a minimum of 5 feet, rather than 5 feet per 5 points over DC 20 (which would really mean you'd need a DC 25 check to move 5 feet, as it is written, which is horribly unbalanced). Two PCs came within a hairsbreadth of dying, only being saved by a lucky save on the one hand and a weak damage roll on the other. Next time, maybe!
Character kills this session: 0
Character kills to date: 9
Next time they'll likely be facing Drugila, her orc barbarian allies, and the skeletal cloud giant. I may have to pump the encounter up a bit, since the PCs are mostly all level 5...