Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Idalium Game 75: Smoke If You Got 'Em

Session date: Monday, May 15, 2017
Game date: Saturday, September 13, 209

Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 4, hp 23, xp 14454/17000
Caryatid, Magic-user 4, hp 19, xp 16205/20000   
Simon Sackwell, Halfling 3, hp 11, xp 5002/8000
Adrien, Fighter 3, hp 9, xp 4329/8000

Manley "Meat" Smythe, Fighter 3, hp 17, xp 5123/8000
Brother Chase Pike, Cleric 2, hp 11, xp 2257/3000
Orin, Elf 1, hp 4, xp 126/4000
Debbi, Magic-user 1, hp 6, xp 382/2500

Today's big plan was to deal with the giant killer bees in the dungeon apartment complex, and the clever idea was to build a giant smoker to put them to sleep. So in the week of downtime between sessions, the party purchased a wooden wheelbarrow plus a slightly larger metal wheelbarrow. The wooden wheelbarrow was placed inverted on top of the metal wheelbarrow. A hole was cut towards the front and a 16 gallon barrel was fit inside it as a sort of chimney. At the rear of the wheelbarrow another hole was cut to fit the business end of a set of blacksmith's bellows. The wheelbarrow was loaded with wet firewood and off they went. The guards at the Rusty Lantern dubiously lowered the contraption down into the trapdoor and the party carefully maneuvered it down the stairs and through the buried streets of Ancient Idalium, making their way to the Temple of Hedonism and the stairs down to the second level. Again it was awkwardly carried down the steps and rolled through the halls of the second level until they arrived at the door to the apartment complex that was infested with giant bees.

Gulleck knocked at the door, just to make sure they weren't walking into something unexpected, but received no response except the faint drone of the bees in the distance. The party drenched the wet logs in oil and then spent some time getting it to catch fire. While they were working on the smoker, they were interrupted by a wandering patrol of seven goblins who angrily attacked them for the honor of the Goblin Prince. Caryatid quickly spoke the words of Sleep, and all of the goblins fell to the floor snoring. The party gathered up the rusty short swords from the goblins and hurled them up the hall to the north. Then, with the wheelbarrow starting to produce an irritating cloud of smoke, they prepared to open the door to the apartment complex and deal with the bees.

Brother Chase had an unusual amount of difficulty with the door, hurling himself at it over and over but unable to budge the stubborn thing. All the thumping and grunting drew the attention of a group of eight hobgoblins who strode in from the north, looked down at the slumbering bodies of their smaller kin, and then drew their sword, snarling and angry. The hobgoblins kicked the goblins awake, and the small unarmed goblins scurried away to the north in terror. Four of the hobgoblins ran off in the same direction, barking in their strange tongue words that Gulleck understood to mean, "Let's circle round and get 'em from behind!" The other four engaged the adventurers in battle.

Gulleck and Brother Chase were at the front line. The battle raged, as the corridor filled with stinging, choking smoke. Gulleck was slashed repeatedly by a hobgoblin, taking 16 points of damage before he was able to take down the hobgoblin. Meat rolled a 20 and sent an arrow right over Simon's head into the eye of one of the hobgoblins, blinding him and sending him staggering away in a panic. Now the four hobgoblins had been killed, but the group could hear the stomping of boots from behind them to the south. Gulleck wheeled round the wheelbarrow, pointing the spout southwards. Meat and Simon both drew bows (Simon handed his magical glowing sword to Orin) and pointed them into the darkness. The four hobgoblins ran into the light of the sword and skidded to a halt. I decided that the sight of the party ready to unleash arrows and axe, smoke billowing forth from a bizarre contraption, with three hobgoblin corpses behind them, was quite enough to prompt a morale check. The hobgoblins promptly failed this morale check and did an about face, running back into the darkness as fast as they had come.

Brother Chase finally got the door open and they trundled the smoking wheelbarrow down the steps into the large central courtyard, stopping beneath the enormous beehive that hung suspended from the ceiling some twenty feet above. Over a dozen giant bees crawled around on the surface of hive or buzzed through the air. Gulleck and Simon attempted to aim the smoker to fumigate as many bees as possible.

I had to make a decision here about how the smoke would affect the bees (this isn't covered by the B/X rules, in case you were wondering!), and in the end I decided to treat it as a Sleep spell for simplicity's sake. Gulleck's player rolled 2d8 to determine how many hit dice of bees would be affected, and unfortunately rolled somewhat low and only six bees grew docile and still. Another nine came barreling through the air at the party, but Orin was quick with an actual Sleep spell and this time all of them fell asleep on the wing, thudding to the floor.

For a moment all was still, but then a deeper buzzing emanated from the hive. Three extra large giant bees wriggled out of a hole in the hive, followed by a sleek, elongated bee with a glistening bulbous abdomen. A wicked sting gleamed at the end. These bees launched themselves into the air and then the party was ferociously attacked in a blur of buzzing wings and stabbing stings. Caryatid and Simon were stung by the soldier bees but made their saving throws, but alas, Brother Chase failed his save and fell choking to the ground, clutching at his throat and frothing at the mouth. He died with his normally handsome features contorted in a terrible rictus, purple lips flecked with spittle.

Caryatid, enraged at the demise of her faithful henchman, cast Magic Missile at the queen bee and rolled the Big Green d30 for damage. Nineteen points, and the queen was obliterated by the golden arrow that sped from Caryatid's shoulder.

The party dumped out the smoldering wood from the barrel and used it to carry Brother Chase's body to the resurrection pool. Outside the apartment complex, Caryatid cast Wizard Lock on the door so that no one could come and steal any treasure that might be present, in the absence of the bees. While she was doing this, a group of people arrived. With their black plate armor and cloaks, and disturbing goat's head amulets, they were familiar to the adventurers at this point. They were the cultists from the level below, who had offered to pay them for goblins (dead or alive). The two groups conversed, and eventually Caryatid offered them the three hobgoblin bodies and received a key that the cultists said unlocked the door at the bottom of the stairs to the third level.

"Take this key and bring more goblins to our temple, and we will pay you well. In fact, we would be willing to take that handsome one off your heads," said the leader of the cultists, nodding at Brother Chase. "He would be most useful in our rituals."

"Brother Beefcake is not for sale!" blurted Caryatid.

"Ah well," smiled the cultist. "Farewell to you."

The adventurers revived Brother Chase in the pool of resurrection, and he came out as handsome as ever, looking like nothing had happened. They ditched the wheelbarrow in the room adjacent to the shrine where the gnomes had excavated the shaft down to, and climbed the rope ladder up the shaft back to the first level. They returned to the Rusty Lantern, already making plans to finish exploring the apartment complex, now that the bee infestation had been managed.

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