Thursday, July 27, 2017

Idalium Game 61: Talking to the Wall

Session date: Monday, August 29, 2016
Game date: Saturday, February 22, 209 to Monday, February 24, 209

Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 4, hp 23, xp 10214/17000
Caryatid, Magic-user 4, hp 19, xp 11853/20000

Manley "Meat" Smythe, Fighter 2, hp 13, xp 3490/4000
Brother Chase Pike, Cleric 1, hp 6, xp 184/1500

A small group this evening, and no plan other than to explore some areas of the second level that they had not yet been to. In the city, the adventurers stopped in at a tailor and picked up the five togas they had commissioned, exact replicas of the embroidered togas that allowed them access to the Temple of Hedonism in the undercity below. Caryatid even made a little tiny toga for her pet monkey Marcel.

They entered the dungeon and made their way uneventfully (yes, the new togas were accepted by the crystal living statue that guarded the stairs down to the second level) to the northern part of the second level. They were exploring an old abandoned tavern kitchen, when they spied some old casks up on a high shelf. Meat reached up to investigate, but accidentally knocked down a cask of rancid semiliquid bacon grease, drenching him in the strong-smelling fat.

Rather than continue on, the adventurers decided to return to the surface to let Meat have a bath before returning to the dungeon in the afternoon. (Such a pity; the strong smelling grease meant that I would roll for wandering monsters every turn rather than every other turn!)

Anyway, a few hours later they returned, with a freshly laundered Meat only faintly smelling of bacon. Delving back into the dungeon, the party made their way to an unexplored area at the north end of the second level. On the way they ran into a trio of dungeon urchins who were tense and angry. They demanded food from the adventurers, but bolted away when Gulleck stepped forward to try to talk some respect into the youngsters. In an former tavern, they encountered a group of bandits who were sitting around counting their illgotten loot. The bandits leered at the adventurers, and demanded a toll of 100 gold darics apiece to pass through this room. Everyone rolled their eyes. Gulleck consulted his maps and realized that they already knew an alternate way around the bandits. So they casually left the room, went around the hall and poked their heads in on the other side to say, "Nice try, guys." The bandits turned beet red, and the adventurers jogged off laughing.

Exploring some apartments off of a main hall, Gulleck and Meat found a chest of drawers that seemed undisturbed. Meat pulled a drawer open roughly, and there was a sudden crack of glass shattering. A greenish mist wafted up from the drawer and spread out quickly. The rest of the party were standing well enough back, but Gulleck and Meat gasped and clutched their throats as they breathed in the mist. Their limbs went numb and they slumped to the cold stone floor, unable to lift an arm or leg but aware of everything going on around them.

Caryatid and and Brother Chase decided for some reason to explore the next room while they waited for the numbness to wear off from Gulleck and Meat. They always say "Never split the party" and here we had an example of why it's a bad idea. While Caryatid and her bodyguard were elsewhere, a half dozen orcs came sauntering into the room, leering and snickering at Gulleck and Meat. "Welly welly well, what have we here?" sneered the orc leader. He poked at Gulleck's nose a few times to make sure he wasn't a threat. "That sure is a nice shiny axe this dwarf's got..." he said, plucking it from Gulleck's belt and hefting it. "I wonder what other goodies these guys have..."

Around this time Caryatid and Brother Chase returned and before the orcs could react Caryatid hit them with a face full of Web. Half of them, along with Gulleck and Meat, were caught in the sticky strands. The other three orcs failed a morale check and bolted out of the door. Caryatid had no patience to wake for Gulleck and Meat to break free of the web (once their paralysis wore off) and didn't care to banter with the three trapped orcs, so she calmly lit the web on fire. The orcs all perished in the conflagration, while Gulleck and Meat, having the luck of experienced adventurers (i.e., more hit points!) were shielded from the worst of the flames by the bodies of the orcs, and were merely uncomfortably singed.

While Gulleck and Meat were still recovering from the paralysis gas, they were interrupted by yet another wandering monster encounter. But this turned out to be a rival NPC party: "Sallies Forth", a party composed of no less than four identical copies of "Psycho" Sally, a manic hobbit who had once been a member of Shorty's Sirens but had struck out on her own once she discovered that the resurrection pool could duplicate you. I said "identical" back there, but really, you could tell the order in which they had been cloned, with each one being a degraded copy of the previous one, like in that Michael Keaton movie Multiplicity.

After a bit of banter with the Psycho Sallies, and once Gulleck and Meat had regained control of their limbs, they set out again exploring the north end of the level. They found an old bedroom, and on one wall a mural of a court jester was painted in old, faded paint. As they approached it for a better look, they were startled to find the paint seeming to flow and move. The jester came to life and attempted to speak to them! Unfortunately, no one in the party could speak Ancient Idalian, so the jester's words were merely a babble of unintelligible nonsense, make even more surreal by his exaggerated mime-like gestures as he tried to communicate with them. The jester didn't understand Modern Idalian, either, so he and the party just stood there babbling and gesticulating at one another. Gulleck and Caryatid got annoyed by the uselessness of the loud gibberish coming from the jester. Gulleck grumbled, "Let's make a note to come back here with some paint." Caryatid replied, "Oh, I was thinking paint thinner!"

In an adjacent room, they found a stone statue of a modestly dressed woman, with one hand outstretched. There was writing inscribed on her garment. Now, the party could not understand Ancient Idalian, but they did possess a pair of magical spectacles that allowed them to read it, and they saw that it said, "I shall guard my treasure until I am wed." They puzzled over this for a while, trying to come up with ways of marrying a stone statue. I had to keep my poker face under control, as only a couple of sessions ago, they had found a stone ring in a honeymoon suite not too far from here. Gulleck was still carrying it around and had it written on his character sheet, but his player kept passing over it as he looked for something useful. Eventually, they would figure it out, but not this day!

Before leaving the dungeon, the adventurers managed to find a room that was marked on a treasure map they had acquired quite some time ago. Just as the map indicated, there was a secret compartment behind a painting of the hills surrounding Idalium, and in the compartment were several sacks of coins from Ancient Idalium, untouched these two hundred some years! Hundreds of silver, gold, and platinum coins filled the bags, and flush with satisfaction at finding this substantial treasure, the adventurers returned to the surface.

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