Saturday, November 12, 2016

Idalium Game 54: Why Did It Have to Be Stirges?

Session date: Monday, June 27, 2016
Game date: Saturday, December 21, 208

Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 4, hp 23, xp 9495/17000
Caryatid, Magic-user 4, hp 19, xp 11128/20000
Simon Sackwell, Halfling 1, hp 4, xp 670/2000

Manley "Meat" Smythe, Fighter 2, hp 13, xp 3179/4000

This was a much shorter session than usual. For various reasons, I arrived quite late, so late in fact that I gave my players a bonus of 100 XP each in apology!

Before descending into the dungeon, the party paid a visit to the slightly doddering old sage, Professor Zinn, at his apartment on the top floor of a rickety, tilted old house in the hillside neighborhood of The Steps. They made guarded inquiries with him about the recent activities of "Caryatid the Green". Professor Zinn was confused at first, completely unaware that Caryatid had a "sister". He spoke of her enthusiastically, happy to have found someone who shared his passion for research into the ancient ways of magic and esoteric knowledge. It transpired that Green Caryatid had hired Professor Zinn to make copies for her of information in old books and scrolls related to human physiology and anatomy. The other odd thing that came up was that she had paid him in gold eggs, about the size of a chicken egg or perhaps a bit larger.

None of this made them feel any better about Green Caryatid's activities, but they arrived at the Rusty Lantern tavern on a cold Saturday morning and made their way down into the undercity. They didn't get far, though. They had just emerged from the gnomes' mining tunnel south of the main city square when they were beset by a flock (swarm?) of stirges! Five of the bizarre bird-like bloodsuckers came flapping out of the darkness, diving towards the adventurers. Two swarmed around Gulleck and he fended them off with his axe. One attacked Meat, and one focused on the diminuative hobbit, Simon.

My players really hate stirges, and when Tyrriel and Wilhelm are in the party they usually cast Sleep immediately. But Caryatid does not know Sleep, and could only launch Magic Missiles at them. While she was doing so, Simon was impaled by the sharp proboscis of a stirge, and as his blood was pulled out in one big gulp, his face grew pale, his eyes rolled back, and he collapsed on the cold stone floor. The stirge continued to drink for a few seconds and then disengaged and flapped ungainly away into the darkness.

Gulleck and Meat dispatched their stirges, and the group took stock of their situation, aghast. Barely into the dungeon and Simon dead. So, the mission now was to descend to the second level and find the pool of rebirth that could restore life to any person, once.

They made their way down without further encounters, Meat carrying Simon's body over his shoulders. When they arrived at the small round chapel containing the pool of rebirth they were surprised to find it in use! A befuddled-looking man and woman were just sort of hanging out in the pool, arms holding the sides, apparently enjoying the body-temperature water.

"Whoa, hey man," said the man. "We're, uh, in the middle of using this pool."

Oh great, groaned the players, it's the hippies. They find these guys a bit too weird for their tastes.

"Uh, excuse us," said Gulleck, "It's kind of urgent. We need to put this body in there."

"You what?" asked the woman. "What're you talking about, man?"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa..." said the man, "Janis and I were just enjoying the hot tub, man. You can't come in here and dump a dead guy in here! Total buzzkill!"

And so it went. Eventually the hippies were persuaded to just step out of the pool for a few minutes while they stripped Simon of his plate armor and let him slip into the pool. A few moments passed and then, with a frantic thrashing, Simon came to the surface gasping for air. The two hippies' jaws dropped in amazement.

"Oh man, that is far out... Whoa..."

And so, having restored life to Simon, the adventurers bid the hippies a pleasant time in the "hot tub" and made their way right back upstairs the way they had come, and right back out to the Rusty Lantern.

Some days things just don't go your way!