Thursday, November 12, 2015

Player Journals from Session 36

Journal of Tod P. Quasit August 17, 208
Dear Diary,

It is with a heavy heart that I must report that our dear dear friend, solider in arms, fellow adventurer and all around really good guy, Gulleck, is dead. I can not help but feel slightly at fault for his untimely demise. My plan to instigate a fight between a group of orcs and their pet troll Lorg backfired.  But I'll start at the beginning.

It was a small group that delved below the city that fateful day.  Just four of us.  I brought Jibber.  Gulleck brought a fellow I'd never met before who they called Meat. 

The delve started as they usually do, with the party making their way down to the second level.  Even before we got to the stairs we ran into weirdness.  A group of people dressed in animal masks speaking a language none of us knew.  After much gesticulating, we managed to get on by them without a fight.  It was looking dodgy for a while.

Then we ran into some goblins. They were easily dispatched.  In the orgy room, the four lizards were still hanging out, picking over the bones of that dead elf.  Gulleck suggested I try to get the lizards to fetch us the bag that the elf had by his side with the ring that lets you control the minds of beasts., I put on the ring and got the beast to do just that.  Unfortunately, when I released it from my mental control, it got really pissed at us and all four of them attacked us. They kicked our ass and we ran away.  The better part of valor. 

We tried to sneak past the lizards by drinking invisibility potion and leading the lizards out of the room with goblin bodies.  This plan seemed to work surprisingly well.  Unfortunately, those orcs standing guard by the gong figured out what was going on.  Maybe because of my glowing sword or maybe when the potion ran out. Anyhow, they gonged the gong and the fight was on. We killed about four of them and the others ran away.  Then Lorg the troll came up the stairs and we ran away. The better part of valor.  He was nine feet tall. For some reason he didn't chase us. 

We decided to go to the Goblin Market using the stupid rope bridge instead of fighting Lorg. Past the bridge we ran into another group of orcs, messing with those giant bugs that were eating the black gloop in that cavern.  That's when I told them that Lorg has told me to tell them that they were idiots. For some reason they didn't storm off to kill Lorg.  They attacked us instead. There may have been a bit more to it.  But at any rate, Gulleck was not up to the challenge and neither was his buddy Meat.  They both fell in battle. Jibber and I managed to kill all but one of them.  The last one ran away.  

The plan was to carry our two fallen comrades to the room with the resurrection pool.  Along the way we ran into a couple of really flamboyant hobgoblins named Clabberpus and Margleton. Or something.  I bargained with them and now I owe Clabberpus a favor, but they distracted the orcs standing guard by the gong... oh yeh, where the gong used to be!  We chucked it into the ravine under the rope bridge.  Heh.  That was poor Gulleck's idea.  Poor Gulleck. 

Anyhow, with the hobgoblin's help we got the bodies to the resurrection room.  Meat came back to life but Gulleck did not, as we feared.  Jibber mentioned that perhaps we could get the CHURCH to perform a very expensive resurrection. Luckily, the dead orcs who had killed Gulleck had a lot of treasure which should pay for the miracle. 

With Gulleck's body in tow, we decided to call it a day and returned to the Rusty Lantern.  I have to get to the Church right away. Jibber says the resurrection gets more expensive and tricky when rot sets in.  Perhaps there is time for one tankard of grog at The Missing Shoe.  Gulleck was never the most pleasant smelling of fellows but I think he's still fresh.  

By the way, I've never felt better.

Idalium Game 36: "Lorg Says Hi from All Your Mothers!"

Session date: Monday, October 26, 2015
Game date: Saturday, August 17, 208

Tod P. Quasit, Jr., Fighter 2, hp 13, xp 2652/4000
Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 3, hp 15, xp 4723/8800

Brother Jibber, Cleric 2, hp 10, xp 1714/3000
Manley "Meat" Smythe, Fighter 1, hp 9, xp 257/2000

Another week, another attempt to find the rumored elixir of life produced by an eternal flame in the caves north of the Goblin Market. As far as they had heard, Lord Dinsdale, the dying aristocrat who had hired them on this errand, was still clinging to life, and so the Infestation Managers regrouped once again at the Rusty Lantern tavern. We had an unusual player roster tonight, just Tod and Gulleck and their retainers. As they settled in with their maps and character sheets, comments went round the game table that pretty much everyone in this party had high hit points and good armor class, and they felt well equipped to bring the fight back to the hideous reptilian monsters from last week. Perhaps this turned out to be overconfidence later in the session.

They took their usual route into the Undercity, but as they pulled open a door that led to a robing room in the back of a temple, they came face to face with a group of strangely dressed figures. There were eight people; male or female, it was hard to tell. They wore black robes over plate armor, and worn bizarre animal masks over their faces. The one in the lead had a bird mask with a long curving bill, somewhat like a plague doctor's mask. Dark sticky blood was visible on some of their war hammers.

Gulleck and Tod cautiously attempted to greet the strange party, but they replied in rapid speech in a language no one understood. It seemed like both groups wanted to pass by the other, but both were nervous and cautious. Eventually, Gulleck made his intentions understood, and the masked figure waved its arm briskly at the door across the room. The party hurried past the bizarre figures and through the room, and the robes and masks ones left the room from the door that the party had come through.

Beyond the door was the temple with the ever-full basin of blood. Sprawled on the floor near the basin was a group of goblins, half of them dead with crushed-in chests and heads. The four survivors took one look at Tod and Gulleck and drew their rusty swords. "It's their friends come to finish us off! Kill them first!" Unfortunately, for the goblins, they were no match for the adventurers, and they very quickly joined their fallen comrades on the floor.

Resuming their expedition down to the second level, the group passed through the Temple of Hedonism and down into the basement. A note on the door to the "orgy room" read, "The Den is closed until further notice. :-( ". Tod pushed the door open to see that the four giant lizards were still nesting in the room. Several of the plush beds and ottomans had been shredded up and the stuffing was torn out. The body of Death Watch (now mostly skeletal and picked clean) still lay on the floor here, next to a leather sack. It occurred to the players to try one of the rings of animal control that they had claimed from the Night Walkers. Tod worn the ring and concentrated his mental power through it, focusing on one of the lizards, which suddenly stood stock still and stared at him. He concentrated his efforts on willing it to pick up the sack and bring it over to him, and it did so, moving stiffly and jerkily.

Unfortunately, when Tod released the lizard from the power of the ring (so that he could walk out of the room) it seemed to be decidedly unhappy about having been controlled. It snapped its jaws at Tod, but could not penetrate his armor. The other three lizards joined the fight as well, and Gulleck received a horrible bite in the leg. The group realized that these giant lizards were fearsome when provoked and beat a quick retreat out of the room, pulling the door shut behind them. Brother Jibber performed his first miracle in the service of the Church, laying his hands on Gulleck's wound and invoking fervent prayers to God. Gulleck was amazed to discover that his broken skin had knit back together and the pain was greatly reduced. And so they felt emboldened to press on rather than retreat to the surface and rest for a few days. (Perhaps another factor leading up to the doom that befell them later in the session...)

The group huddled and pondered whether there was another way down to the second level that could avoid the lizards. They knew of some possibilities, but nothing known to be safe. Eventually, they settled on a plan that involved retrieving the corpses of the goblins from the temple upstairs and luring the lizards away from the temple of hedonism using the corpses and the assistance of a potion of invisibility to confuse the beasts. This was generally successful, and the group managed to pass through the temple room and head out to the north. Here the dilemma was whether to use the stupid time-consuming rope bridge to cross the canyon (they have been talking about coming down with a wheelbarrow of lumber and building a proper bridge once and for all) or deal with the orc guards to the north. I guess they were in a fighting mood, so they chose to head north, where the orcs of the second level seemed to have their lair.

Everyone was still invisible from the potion, but Tod's sword was still shedding light, and as they approached they could see the two orc guards standing by their gong with swords drawn and suspicious, alarmed looks on their faces. Gulleck tried to sneak up invisible to the orcs to scare them off, but made too much noise, and anyway, just as he got up to them the invisibility wore off.

"Dwarf sorcery!" barked one of the orcs, and lunged at Gulleck with his sword. The other orc ran to the gong (really just a crude piece of sheet metal hanging from a wooden frame) and clanged frantically away at it. The orcs were quickly slain, but many more came running up the stairs that led down to the west. Tod, Brother Jibber, and Meat all came running up to join the battle. Some of the orcs had shortbows and stood back trying to line up shots between their front line. There was a struggle for Gulleck's axe, and then Gulleck fumbled and dropped it. But fortunately for him, one of the orc archers also rolled a natural 1 and then rolled very "well" on the followup attack against his ally, which resulted in the orc shooting his friend in the buttocks at point blank range.

Hampered by these kinds of comedic hijinks, and it being practically impossible to get anything past Tod's magical plate armor and shield, the battle turned quickly against the orcs. Their morale broke, and the survivors ran back to the west, down the stairs into their lair. The adventurers caught their breath, and Gulleck, wounded and annoyed, began sawing away at the ropes from which the gong was suspended.

Just as he cut the gong free, the sound of enormous, heavy footsteps came plodding up the stairs. A huge and hideously ugly man was stomping towards them. He was at least nine feet tall, and wore nothing but a filthy loincloth. He carried an enormous club and roared at them as he approached.

"They have a cave troll," sighed Tod. The adventurers wanted nothing to do with this ugly monstrosity, and ran at full speed away back the way they had come, ducking into a door that led through a series of rooms and into the caverns. The "cave troll" laughed mockingly at them as they ran away. "Ha ha ha, Lorg scare puny little people away!"

Gulleck paused at the rope bridge to pitch the sheet metal gong into the darkness below, hearing it splash into the rushing water far below them. Then they collected themselves, and headed north through the caves, in search of the Goblin Market and the Eternal Flame said to burn somewhere beyond it.

They wandered through the caves, and eventually came to the large cavern to the west of the Goblin Market. Dark sticky liquid wept from the walls at the west end of the cavern. When they were last here, a group of giant cave locusts had been lapping at the liquid, but now, a half dozen orcs were chortling viciously as they stabbed at locusts with their crude swords, stowing the dead locusts away in burlap sacks. As Tod's swordlight fell upon them they looked up with cruel smiles on their bestial faces.

Now, I still don't quite understand why things went down the way they did. These orcs were happily engaged in grasshopper hunting. They were blissfully unaware that the adventurers had just fought a pitched battle against their comrades. The reaction roll was quite positive. The orcs would probably have just made some vulgar jokes and offered a couple locusts to the party.

But then Tod said, "Hey! Lorg said that you guys are SO STOOOOPID!"

"What? Lorg didn't say that! You shut up!"

"Uh, what are you doing, Tod?" hissed Gulleck.

"Oh, and by the way," called Tod. "Lorg says hi from all your mothers!"

"Wha--?! You shut up or we'll shut you up with these!" And swords were drawn, and the orcs fell upon the adventurers, screaming and raging. Gulleck was stabbed deeply by an orc's dirty sword. He attempted to retreat behind his retainer, but the orcs were too fast, and he was stabbed again and again, and fell to the cold cavern floor, dead. Meat attempted to avenge his employer, but he too was run through and sank to the ground gurgling.

Tod's magical sword sang in the air as it decapitated orcs. All but one were killed, and the survivor lost his nerve and ran off into the dark. But it was too late for Gulleck and Meat, and Tod looked down on their cooling bodies with a guilty conscience.

The quest for the Eternal Flame was again thwarted. Now, the mission was to bring the bodies back to the pool of rebirth. Tod and Jibber set themselves to the unpleasant task of slowly dragging the bodies of Gulleck and Meat through the cavern and back into the dungeon. Tod was nervous about what they would do when they came to the orcs again.

And here, a wandering monster check came to their rescue. When they got to the cave just north of the rope bridge, they were startled to see two tall goblins just leaning against the cave walls. One was idly flipping a silver coin. His eyes widened at the dismal sight of Tod and Jibber dragging the bodies of their friends.

"If it isn't Tod!" cried a goblin. "It is I, Clabberpus. You remember me, I trust, and Margleton as well? I see you have met with some ill fortune today."

Clabberpus made an offer to Tod. He would help the adventurers bypass the orcs, but at a price. Tod would owe him an open-ended, undefined favor. "You will owe me a favor. At some point, I will call that favor in, and you will satisfy it. Do we have a deal?"

Ill at ease but feeling no other options, Tod shook on the deal with the goblin, whose hand was clammy and discomforting. The goblins led them out of the caverns and through a series of rooms, where they met a fellow adventuring party, St. Dwindum's Heroes. The "Heroes" had suffered a casualty as well, and like Tod and Jibber, were concerned about getting past the orc checkpoint. Brother Michael volunteered his party to help carry Gulleck and Meat in a more respectful manner than being dragged along the floor. Clabberpus raised a hand, and said, "We will go out and speak with the orcs. Wait a few moments, and then be on your way. I'm sure we will see each other again soon, Tod." The two goblins walked into the hall, and after a few seconds, the two adventuring parties followed. To the north, they could see the goblins talking to two orcs at the stairs. The orcs looked intimidated. Snatches of the goblins' words floated down the hall, and Tod heard "the Goblin King" mentioned. Clabberpus reached an arm behind his back and waved the adventurers away.

As quickly as they could, the groups carried their dead to the round temple of pink marble that contained the strange pool of rebirth. Bardelio, the slain hobbit of St. Dwindum's Heroes, was lowered into the pool, and soon came out looking more hale and hearty than ever. Meat was likewise brought back to full vigor by the ancient magic of the pool.

Gulleck had already been revived by the pool once, and it had not worked on Gulleck's former retainer Twiffle a second time. But they carefully lowered Gulleck in anyway, on the off chance that it might still work. Sadly, however, Gulleck remained inert at the bottom of the pool. Tod immersed himself to lift Gulleck's body, and Tod himself felt suffused with life and health (gaining a permanent point of Constitution and healing all his wounds).

Brother Jibber mentioned to Tod that the highest ranking officers of the Church did have the miraculous power to call a person back from death itself, and he thought they might be willing to do so for Gulleck, even though he was a dwarf and not a parishioner. For a significant donation, anyhow...

Lifting up Gulleck's body again, the adventurers carefully made their way back to the surface where they grimly divvied up the recovered loot. The leather sack that Death Watch had died with contained two exquisite bracelets, that earned Tod enough experience points to achieve level 3! (Sometimes it pays off when your fellow adventurers don't survive the expedition...) Tod sold the bracelets, for he had a feeling he would be making a very significant donation to the Church in the very near future...

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Player Journals from Session 35

Journal of Tod P. Quasit August 10, 208
Dear Diary,

It finally happened. Jibber got the recognition he deserved from his fellow churchy types and they bequeathed onto him a new sash with a beautiful golden symbol of power and piety. Apparently he can now cause miracles to happen. I am so proud of the Jibber.

After the ceremony and much celebration, we met up at the Rusty Lantern and got back to some undercity delving. We got to the orgy room and found four giant lizards eating what's his head, that other jerk elf that we didn't kill. Alas. I guess we didn't give him the fighting change we thought we had. Or something. I'll drink a toast to his memory I guess.

So we decided to keep looking for that Elixer of Life Flame for Lord Dinsdale. We made out way to the Goblin Market but it was closed. We got attacked by terrible smelling things. Three of us died but we were able to revive them in the pink goo. Man that stuff is handy. We were attacked by giant monkeys. Got some nice treasure. Killed some orcs. Decided we'd had enough fun for one night and went home. We'll find that damned flame of youth next time I guess.

Jibber and I are resuming our celebration at the Mutton Chop. I want to see him turn water into ale.

Idalium Game 35: Death from Above

Session date: Monday, October 19, 2015
Game date: Saturday, August 10, 208

Tod P. Quasit, Jr., Fighter 2, hp 13, xp 2254/4000
Tyrriel, Elf 1, hp 3, xp 3930/4000
Caryatid, Magic-user 3, hp 15, xp 6024/10000
Axel, Thief 1, hp 3, xp 720/1200

Brother Jibber, Cleric 2, hp 10, xp 1531/3000
Wilhelm, Magic-user 1, hp 4, xp 1450/2500
Ylil, Thief 2, hp 5, xp 1701/2400

The previous session had started with some exposition of a quest for the party, but they never managed to actually get anywhere near the Eternal Flame that was rumored to exist in the caverns of level 2, north of the Goblin Market. Now, with a smaller group of players, they made another attempt to find the legendary flame, said to produce an Elixir of Life that could revive the dying Lord Dinsdale.

But first, now that Tod had regained second level and was able to retain Brother Jibber's services again (can't have a retainer be higher level than their employer!) we had a "flashback" scene to the elevation ceremony of Brother Jibber. In the Great Cathedral of Light, the Abbess Archura, a young woman with long strawberry blonde hair, bid Brother Jibber forth to kneel before her. She spoke of his exemplary service to the Church and the role he had yet to play in fighting back the forces of Chaos. "Brother Jibber, you have proven yourself a worthy member of our order. You are hereby invested with the power and right to perform miracles in the name of the All-Pervading Light." He was bestowed the rank of Deacon in the Church and a handsome silver holy symbol was placed around his neck.

(Even though Brother Jibber is merely an NPC henchman, you've gotta play up the transition from level 1 to level 2 cleric. It's such a huge deal to finally be able to cast spells!)

As they entered the Rusty Lantern tavern and made ready to descend into the Undercity, the talking head on the wall above the bar (dubbed "Headdie" by Gulleck) told them that Morlo, formerly of the Night Walkers, had come sheepishly into the tavern to empty the Night Walkers' vault in the cellar of equipment and treasure, and cross the Night Walkers off of the tavern "scoreboard". Their entry now read "Defunct - Defeated in a cowardly ambush by an insane dwarf". The Infestation Managers sniffed at the blatant inaccuracy of this recounting, but got on with their preparations unfazed.

They took their usual route through the first level of ruins, using the embroidered togas to pass by the crystal statue guarding the steps down to the second level. In the Temple of Hedonism, they discovered that a quartet of enormous lizards had made a nest of the pleasure den. One of them was lazily gnawing on the mangled and chewed corpse of a familiar elf. It was Death Watch, their hated rival whom they had allowed to run away after defeating his party last week. It was apparent that he had not made it out of the dungeon. A burlap sack lay on the floor near his hand.

Eyeing the four giant lizards warily, the group moved cautiously along the walls and slipped out of the room, heading north. They debated whether they should head east into the caverns and attempt the crossing of the rope bridge (time consuming or annoying) or tangle with the orcs who guarded the hallway to the north. The direct route through the orcs won out, and the party headed north to confront the bestial subhumans.

Two orcs stood in the hall in front of a crude metal gong and refused to let the party pass without paying a hefty toll. Tod was tired of being shaken down by these savage beastmen, and things got violent pretty quickly. Axel and Ylil scurried around them to try to lower the gong to the floor without a sound, and did so, but the orcs were rapidly overpowered and slain. The party hoped to avoid suspicion so they propped up the dead orcs, sitting against the wall. If nobody got too close, it might fool them for a while...

They moved on through a series of rooms that led to another way into the caverns, and found themselves in the room where they had battled the Night Walkers. They headed through the caves to the north, in search of the Goblin Market. Caryatid had been there once before, and gave directions according to her confusing and often incomplete maps. They clambered over uneven group in the caves, passing a cave with an eerie blue glow, and a cave where a dark sticky liquid seemed to weep from the walls. A number of giant cave locusts were clustered around the liquid, lapping at it. They ignored the liquid and the locusts, and headed east, into the Goblin Market.

Unlike the last time Caryatid had been here with Gulleck, the Market was empty and silent, except for the ticking of an imposing grandfather clock at the far south end of the hall. It had but one hand, which seemed to show the phases of the Moon. The three days surrounding the full moon were illustrated with a scene of the market in full swing, but they were about a week late. The tables were all pushed to the sides of the great hall with its crooked black and white checkerboard floor. The pens and cages at the north end stood empty as well, with only a slight animal smell lingering in the air.

To the north they went, into an unexplored region of the caves, trying to head north as the rumors suggested. Coming around a bend of a tight winding passage, they walked out into a more open space. All seemed calm, but then there was a sudden screeching and dark shapes dropped from the walls all around them. A horrible stench filled the air. It was unlike the sickly sweet putrifaction of the ghouls, but a stomach-turning pungence that nauseated several party members, who gagged and retched and had difficulty bringing their swords to bear on the creatures that had caught them by surprise.

Five bipedal reptilian creatures had leapt down among them. They had crests running down their heads and arms (which terminated in viciously clawed hands), and their coloration was a strange stony mottling that had blended in perfectly with the walls of the cave. Tyrriel, Wilhelm, and Ylil were pounced upon, and their screams filled the air as the horrible lizardlike creatures clawed and bit at them. Blood sprayed profusely, and the three unfortunates fell to the ground before they were even able to react.

Tod and Jibber did their best to form a line to protect Caryatid. Axel dropped into the shadows to get a clear bowshot at the horrible creatures. But they were outnumbered now, and the beasts pressed the attack. In desparation, Caryatid drew forth the crooked wand of fear, and released its power at the creatures. Three of them scrabbled away from her, and ran howling into the dark caverns to the north. Tod managed to slay another of the beasts, and Caryatid fired a magic missile into the last one and brought it down. She was dismayed to find that the wand, which had saved their lives on many an occasion, had suddenly turned ashy and crumbly and fell to pieces in her hand. So much for that.

So now the evening's plan had to change to getting Tyrriel, Wilhelm, and Ylil back to the pool of rebirth. Tod and Jibber carried Tyrriel between them, Axel and Caryatid got Wilhelm and Ylil into fireman's carries, and the group retraced their steps slowly and painfully. Thankfully, the two dead orcs were still propped against the wall where they left them, and they made it to the temple with the pool without incident. One by one, Tyrriel, Wilhelm, and Ylil were stripped out of their armor and backpacks and lowered into the shimmering, syrupy waters of the pool, emerging fully revived seconds later. Caryatid threw all reason aside and tried to take another dip herself, hoping to get another Constitution bonus I suppose, but alas, it had no effect on her the second time (as if one doppelganger is bad enough).

With the party fully revived, it was decided to return to the Rusty Lantern, although no treasure had been discovered. On the way, they decided to stop in the Temple of Chance, to give Axel the "opportunity" to spin the mighty Wheel of Fate. They carefully strapped him into the big wheel and then gave it a good spin. Axel whirled round and round on the circular table, gazing up at the dispassionate goddess of fate painted on the ceiling, who seemed to rotate with him. Eventually, the wheel came to a stop, and as Axel was unstrapped from the wheel he realized that all the gold in his belt pouch had vanished! Later on, when he got back to the Rusty Lantern, he discovered that a good portion of his money stored there was missing as well.

Wilhelm also wanted to try the wheel, so Tyrriel helped him on and gave him a spin. Nothing obvious happened to him, but as they were unbuckling him from the restraints, a half dozen enormous baboons suddenly charged into the room, hooting and shrieking, waving yellowed femurs above their heads. Tyrriel quickly spoke the words of the Sleep spell, and luckily all of the baboons slumped to the ground. A few were wearing some incongruously valuable trinkets - one had a jeweled necklace and had been wielding a golden scepter as a club, and another had a bronze medallion around its neck. This simple medallion was engraved with the word "Clarity", so they appropriated this as well for later investigation.

They passed through the Temple of Hedonism, avoiding the four lizards again, and headed upstairs and back to the Rusty Lantern. On the way they had a scuffle with some orcs, but nothing that Wilhelm's Sleep spell couldn't deal with handily.

Financially, the delve had been a bust until the encounter with the baboons, but the gold darics raised from liquidating the jewelry were worth enough experience points to enable Tyrriel the elf to finally achieve second level. A significant accomplishment for anyone playing an elf in Classic D&D! Axel, too, was getting quite close to second level, a testament to how fast thieves level compared to other classes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Player Journals from Session 34

The Journal of Tod P. Quasit August 3, 208
Dear Diary,

After many months of introspective gasping at my navel, feeling sorry for myself and drinking way too much of Gorman's hard peach cider, I decided to join up with my friends to once again delve into the Undercity. I paid a visit to Jibber in the Chapel of the Erstwhile Ram, where he was doing his rigorous abstinence exercises while preparing for his accession ritual but he said he I was no longer worthy of his company and that he had too much to do before the ceremony to go with me. He did wish me luck however.

So we met up at the Rusty Lantern. I met a new fellow, a stout fighter named Moog who was very very stopped but a good sort of fellow to have around I think. Another new comer named Axel, and only one Caryatid was around, plus of course the dwarf and the elf.

We heard of a job that Lady Millicentis was offering. Her dear friend Lord Dinsdale was dying and wished our party to find an Elixir of Life that he was convinced was in the Undercity.

I'm suddenly becoming very thirsty for some peach cider. Suffice to say I was on a bridge toward the Goblin Market when suddenly a fight broke out in front of me. I was the last to cross because of my weakness of spirit. By the time I got across the Night Stalkers were either dead or defeated. We confiscated their stuff and exiled them from the Undercity. There was much burning. I guess that's about it.

I'm off to The Grubby Hedgehog for some delicious pies and chips and cider.

I'm feeling much better by the way.

Idalium Game 34: Burning Down the House

Session date: Monday, October 12, 2015
Game date: Saturday, August 3, 208

Tod P. Quasit, Jr., Fighter 1, hp 5, xp 1737/2000
Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 3, hp 15, xp 4723/8800
Tyrriel, Elf 1, hp 3, xp 3436/4000
Caryatid, Magic-user 3, hp 15, xp 5554/10000
Axel, Thief 1, hp 3, xp 250/1200
Mog, Fighter 1, hp 8, xp 0/2000
Krong, Dwarf 2, hp 13, xp 2200/4400

This game took place on a rather festive occasion. A former member of our gaming group who had moved out of the country had returned for a visit home, and he sat in on the game. He rolled up an unhinged pyromaniac dwarf, a worshipper of some sort of ill-defined fire demon cult. The wonderful/terrible thing about players sitting in for a single session is that they have no attachment to your campaign and nothing to lose, so they can be inclined to just burn the whole place down if it makes the evening interesting. Vito's player was back as well, after a long absence! He was a bit bored of playing a thief, and so rolled up a big dumb fighter named Mog. And all of the other regulars were here, and so with a party of seven, they decided to entirely forgo retainers and venture into the dungeon on their own.

I thought that since we had a guest of honor for the night, I would provide an adventure hook to give the session some focus. In the end, the session went in an entirely different direction, but in any event, I co-opted the now-NPC Vito to provide some background. It turns out that Vito had been away from the party so long because he had acquired a new job, working as a gardener for Baroness Millicent Trenevant, an elderly aristocrat that he had been impressed by upon their previous meetings. Vito conveyed the message that Lady Millicent was increasingly worried about a dear friend of hers, a Lord Dinsdale, who was looking to hire adventurers to help him.

The party traveled across the City of Idalium, through various neighborhoods until they reached the grandest quarter of them all, where the Great Cathedral of Light rises above a grand public square, and wealthy manor houses line the streets. They turned down one of the older streets to meet with Lady Millicent at her house, still somewhat run-down as before, but now with much better kept gardens. Lady Millicent told them of her friend Lord Dinsdale, another "old money" noble fallen on hard times. He was old and dying now, but seemed convinced that he might prolong his life with the aid of adventurers. The party agreed to meet with Lord Dinsdale, and walked a short distance along the streets to his mansion. It was in worse condition than Lady Millicent's, once grand but now fallen nearly into ruin.

Their knock was answered by a melancholy-looking man, who walked with a cane and introduced himself as Pensley, Lord Dinsdale's valet. He led them through the big but empty house, full of dust and grime, to the bedroom of his master. Lord Dinsdale lay in bed in a frayed nightgown. His hair was white and straggly, and his voice quavered and rasped, interrupted frequently by fits of hacking coughs.

"Are you... adventurers? Have you come to help me? I am an old man... I am dying. But Pensley has told me of something that could restore my youth and grant me an entirely new life! And Elixir of Life! Speak to him, please, and if you can, bring me this elixir! There's money in for you. Twenty thousand shekels if you bring it to me! I have no need of money now!"

Stepping out of the bedroom, they spoke with Lord Dinsdale's valet. He told them that he had been an adventurer some years ago. He and his wife Junipress, along with other comrades, had explored the Undercity together. That came to an end, however, when his wife was seduced by the delicious fruit of the goblins, and chose to spurn him and stay in the dungeon to live with the goblins.

"Does this have anything to do with the Elixir of Life?" asked Krong, the visiting dwarf, whose player has always been impatient about extended exposition.

"I was getting to that," replied Pensley with a hurt expression. "We had bartered information from the goblins. They told us of a fantastical place in the caves to the north of the Goblin Market. The legends say there is an eternal flame burning in a niche in cave, and the heat of the flame produces a magical elixir with the power to completely renew the dying or even the dead. I told this story to Lord Dinsdale some time ago, and he has completely latched onto it as a means of surviving his natural end. But I... I would not trust the goblins. I believe the legend may be true, but I suspect there may be consequences to the use of the elixir. Those goblins delight in tricking people into their own downfall."

The group agreed to take on Lord Dinsdale's commission, and returned to the Rusty Lantern to gear up and head down to the caves of the second level. Krong had several flasks of oil strapped to a sash across his chest, and plugged with rags that could be easily lit afire. The regular Infestation Managers all gave him a wary look as he suited up.

Descending through the basement trap door into the ruined city of Ancient Idalium, the group moved swiftly among familiar corridors through the Temple of Hedonism and down to the second level of the dungeon. They headed east into the caverns, where they encountered a pair of very large giant lizards, that watched them cautiously from their nest. The group very carefully crept by them, staying close to the far wall and not approaching them, and were able to pass by without angering the beasts.

Then they were at the rope bridge that spanned the dark canyon where water could be heard rushing far below. They crossed slowly and carefully, one at a time. All but Tod had made the crossing and Tod was in the middle of the canyon when a smirking, familiar voice said, "Well now, what have we here? If it isn't the Rat Catchers!" It was their hated rivals, the Night Walkers, led by the sneering elf brothers Death Watch and Cobweb.

"I light a flask of oil and get ready to throw it," said Krong's player. Yep, it's gonna be that kind of evening.

"Oh no you don't, crazy dwarf!" yelled Death Watch, drawing his sword, and Cobweb began tracing odd patterns in the air and speaking unfamiliar words.

Darkness suddenly fell. None of the humans could see a thing, and the dwarves and elves could only see crude glowing shapes with their infravision. Tod was stuck out on the bridge in pitch blackness, listening to the sounds of increasing struggle up ahead.

Krong lit his beard on fire and then attempted to throw the flask at the elves, but fumbled his attack roll and managed to douse himself with flaming oil. Now committed to things, he grabbed two more flasks off of his bandolier. (I had him make rolls for each of his molotov cocktails to see if they ignited when he set himself on fire, and was rather surprised that none of them did. I was kind of expecting him to self-immolate right then and there.)

"I light them from my beard and charge screaming at them."

And then Tyrriel cast Sleep and knocked out the Night Walkers' front line. Cobweb barely had time to slump to the ground when Krong slammed a burning flask of oil into him, and he awoke briefly only to perish in a screaming inferno. Krong charged through the panicking back ranks of the Night Walkers, chasing a terrified magic-user down a corridor before slaughtering him with another flask of burning oil. A singed hobbit was allowed by Gulleck to return to the bridge, where he was tied up with the sleeping members of the Night Walkers, while Krong arranged his victims in the "ritual pose of purification" against the walls.

The party stripped the Night Walkers of all their armor, weapons, and valuables, and then woke Death Watch and gave him an ultimatum: Flee, and never return. Leave Idalium forever. Death Watch took a dreadful look at the burned remains of his brother Cobweb and agreed to their terms. He, his fighters Randall and Vince, and the scorched hobbit Morlo were allowed to run back west, out of the caverns and back into the worked stone corridors of the dungeon, without armor or sword or even a lantern to see by. "Wait for us, boss!" came their panicked screams as they ran after Death Watch.

The plunder was significant. A plain copper ring that left Caryatid feeling protected and defended, two bronze rings engraved with images of animals, a sword engraved with images of the Moon and runes that said "Shine" in Elvish. Several suits of armor that were in remarkably good condition and weighed less than one would expect, and a very shiny shield as well. There were beautiful pieces of jewelry (although sadly damaged by the fire!) and several potion vials.

And so, in the space of a couple of hours, the long-running feud with the Night Walkers came to a fiery end. And all because of a visiting player who, with no real interest in whether he survived the adventure, was liberated to just burn everything down because it was more exciting that way.

That's D&D for you!