Monday, December 5, 2016

Idalium Game 55: Gnomish Negotiations

Session date: Monday, July 11, 2016
Game date: Saturday, January 4, 209

Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 4, hp 23, xp 9861/17000
Caryatid, Magic-user 4, hp 19, xp 11494/20000

Manley "Meat" Smythe, Fighter 2, hp 13, xp 3312/4000
Brother Chase Pike, Cleric 1, hp 6, xp 0/1500

Another short-staffed party this session, so Caryatid went looking for a replacement for the dearly departed Brother Guntur. There was a consensus (aka a running joke) around the table that the group had gone through so many NPC clerics that they might be wearing out their welcome at the Great Cathedral. So instead, they hired their new clerical retainer from one of the many fringe sects that operate nominally under the umbrella of the Great Church of the All-Pervading Light but mostly completely independently. They found their new acolyte at a tiny storefront church, the Church of St. Dilbert, patron saint of the freelance and contract employee. There was much jovial discussion about how his share of the treasure would be paid directly to the church, which would then pay him a much smaller cut. Their new cleric was named Brother Chase Pike, and was somehow decided to be "played" by Chris Hemsworth, and so we have been playing him like the guy from the new Ghostbusters movie - handsome but ditzy.

So, as usual, the team made their descent into the dungeon. Their mission today was to seek out the gnomes that live in the mines on the east side of the first level. A few weeks ago, they had discovered a room filled with horrible frightening shadow demons guarding a huge statue of some awful demon or demigod, gilded with precious medals and studded with jewels. Their idea was to dig directly down from the first level into the chamber with the statue and lift it out with ropes and some kind of harness. The trouble was, they didn't want to do all the hard work of digging, so they intended to try to hire the gnomes to do so.

The only problem with this plan was that no one could remember exactly where the gnomes lived, or piece their fragmentary maps together to figure it out. They made their way to the tight, claustrophobic mine tunnels and wandered around rather blindly for most of the evening. They encountered an angry band of knockers, but Caryatid quickly entangled the twisted and withered gnome-like monstrosities in the sticky strands of a Web spell. They stumbled upon a pack of giant cave weasels, that hissed at them and aggressively protected their lair. The adventurered threw a handful of silver coins at them - why, I'm not sure - but that didn't pacify the weasels in any way.

Around the corner from the weasels, the group had a random encounter with stirges. Now, just last session they had a very unfortunate experience with stirges, but this time I rolled a 12 for the reaction roll. What do you do when your players encounter "enthusiastically friendly" stirges? Well, these stirges took a great interest in the adventurers, hopping up on the arms of Gulleck and Meat and nuzzling them affectionately. An affection that was NOT returned by the two fighters! They carefully brushed some of the stirges off, and then grabbed the others, ran back around the corner, and threw them with full force at the pack of weasels! There was a savage burst of activity and howling, feathers flew every which way, and the adventurers walked away from the carnage with satisfied smiles on their faces.

Eventually they did stumble upon the gnomes' little house, and they were welcomed warmly by their diminuative hosts, and brought into the gnomes' sitting room for tea and tasty little seed cakes. Gulleck explained the party's business proposal to the gnomes. Now, the gnomes under Idalium are fairly mild-mannered, cautious, and reticent to put themselves in any danger, but gold and jewels are a strong intoxicant for them, and their eyes grew round and avaricious as Gulleck described the gleaming golden icon he had seen. In the end, a deal was struck: the gnomes would dig a shaft, in a place of the party's determination, in return for half of the money realized from liquidating the statue and the other gilded paraphernalia. They would not fight the shadows, however; that was entirely the party's job.

After shaking on the deal and picking a spot on their map (by overlaying maps they decided to dig in a small temple on the street of temples), the party returned to the surface. They were kicking themselves a little at perhaps not negotiating as hard as they could have: when Gulleck offerred a half-and-half split it was immediately accepted by the gnomes. But they consoled themselves with having someone else to do the digging. The gnomes had told them it would probably take a couple of months depending on the type of rock they encountered between the levels. In the meantime, the adventurers needed to commission some sort of harness to lift the statue out of the room, and also to seek more information about the frightening shadowy entities...