Okay, time to give the rundown on this week's session, before it totally ablates from my brain. We played on Wednesday, which also happened to be my birthday, and gaming on one's birthday is a fine thing indeed.
When last we left our heroes, we were about to venture down into a cavern beneath the burned out guard house that the party had discovered underneath a trapdoor. Liam the Elf and Yøgen Früdje the Paladin* led, followed by Deacon Silver, our mage (who's name again eludes me, sorry) and Klint the thief. When the elf and paladin reached the bottom of the rungs set in the earthen wall, they found a twisting passage lined with shelves that seemed to have been used a long time ago as a pantry, due to the rotting foodstuffs and crockery in evidence.
As soon as they stepped into the passage, they were jumped from out of the pitch blackness by a pair of skeletons led by a ghoul. The paladin was struck several times by the ghoul's scaberous claws, but managed to make his saves vs. paralysis and not fall victim to its touch. The elf was also struck, I think (my memory is unclear a bit to the sequence of events) which while he was immune to the ghoul's touch, still took him down to 0 hp. At this point, DH rolled on his special critical chart that he's using for this campaign, and determined that the damage didn't incapacitate Liam, but his broken ribs caused him penalties to hit. If he took another hit he'd be dead.
Finally, Deacon Silver made it to the bottom of the shaft and unlimbered his silver stringed mandolin. The sound of his playing caused the undead monsters to turn and flee back down the passage, allowing the rest of the party to make it down. (Most important to our purposes was the mage, who carried our only light source, a lantern, slung on his belt.) The paladin then used his healing ability on himself while the Deacon cast "Cure Light Wounds" on Liam, restoring his hit points but not removing the broken ribs (which would require a second Cure spell. Alas for being a 1st. level cleric.)
A little way in the passage we found a room with a hexagonal table and a hexagonal bed, as well as an iron bound chest in one corner. The party set about checking out the furniture, finding it old and dusty. When we checked out the chest, we found we couldn't get it unlocked, so the paladin struck the lid with his sword hoping to break it. This shattered something inside the lid which caused the chest to dissipate into a cloud of smoke which floated toward the roof and hung there. Puzzled by this, we decided to explore deeper into the tunnel.
We found another room that was unremarkable save for the advanced decay of the furnishings, and a chest containing another false bottom that hid a small amount of treasure. When we came out of that room, the undead returned, having bolstered their number with another ghoul. The Deacon's silver strings sang again and chased the monsters off a second time to the far end of the winding corridor, where they huddled in fear for the rest of the night. The party decided to leave them be, and explore another room we found.
In this room, we found what we presume to be the remains of a gambling den, with another hexagonal table with moldy cards and copper coins strewn across it. As we entered, another undead ambush awaited, a ghoul and a skeleton. Deacon Silver turned the monsters (I was on fire with my turn undead rolls that evening.), forcing them back into their alcove. The party decided to destroy these ones, so the archers started firing their bows as the paladin charged in swinging his sword.
This is where things got kind of hairy.
Once attacked the undead broke out of their turning and fought back, the ghoul clawing and the skeleton swinging a rusty sword. Früdje was struck so badly by the ghoul's claws that he failed his saving throw against the paralysis effect and fell back stiff as a board. Complicating this, he also was reduced to 0 hit points, and rolled on the critical table, the result being as he fell back stiffened by the ghoul's clammy touch, he fell on his leg at an awkward angle and broke it pretty heniously. (Like, Joe Thiesman heinous... Ngghh...)
With the paladin down, it fell to Deacon Silver and Klint to take the monsters out, as Liam the elf was still one hit away from doom and the mage wouldn't last long at all against the creatures. The undead managed to whittle the Deacon down point by point but he managed to avoid being paralysed by the ghoul. He got a good hit in on the creature with his quarterstaff, and I think managed to take down the skeleton, while Klint attempted to flank the monsters and backstab the ghoul. He failed to surprise the monster, but he hit with his shortsword anyway and finished the horrible corpse beast off. With that we decided to beat a hasty retreat, strapping the Paladin's rigid body to the Deacon's back as we high tailed it out of the tunnel and up the ladder.
It was just breaking dawn as we made it to the surface, and presently the paralysis wore off and the Paladin started screaming in pain as we carried him through town. We finally got him quieted down enough when we got back to the Dying Minotaur, where it was quiet in the early morning. We settled in and bought breakfast, and endeavored to get Früdje as drunk as possible so he could bear the pain of his shattered leg.
We carried him up the hill to the local temple to see if we could get him healed, but found the price for their mystical healing a bit steep at 100 gold for Cure Light Wounds. We were also a bit diplomatically challenged at the time, with our paladin being thoroughly hammered, and the rest of the party being rather antisocial in nature. We managed to get out of the temple without anybody stealing anything or angering the priests, so we decided to just go back and wait out the couple of days it would take for the Deacon to be able to heal everybody's damage at the tavern.
While the Deacon whiled away the hours playing his mandolin and keeping Früdje company while he sobered up, the other party members pursued various agendas about town. We spent three days at the inn, sharing a room and resting. We also got a little more info from Loretta the barmaid about the history of the burned down guardhouse. She mentioned that a prisoner had been kept there, who'd been just barely rescued when the place burned down. We flagged this as potentially significant, and went about our business.
Liam went hunting in the forest for food (preferring wild game to paying money for cooked food), and met a young half elf hunter named Amon whom he befreinded. They arranged for Liam to meet with the lad's parents to speak of recruiting him as a henchman in our adventuring.
Our mage went to speak to the senior wizard in the area in hopes the elder mage taking him on as an apprentice. The meeting was short and cordial, and the mage agreed to take him on if he could bring him the head of an ogre who'd been terrorizing the north hills with a party of gnolls at his side.
Liam, the mage, and Klint went to the captain of the guard and informed him about the nest of undead we found, and managed to wrangle a contract for us to clear out the dungeon, although we would require a witness to accompany us from the town guard, because it's easy to fake a bounty trophy with undead after a few hours digging in a graveyard.
Finally, once everyone's wounds had healed and bones had been set, the party went around to the home of Amon's parents to speak with them of recruiting the young half elf. They weren't willing to allow this, as Amon was quite busy running messages to their elvish kin to the West, who had recently been having problems with the incursion of savage wolves from the deep forests. We spoke of possibly being able to help with that problem, and so parted on friendly terms.
That was pretty much the extent of the evening. We had a little bit of diplomacy and role play, some action, some injuries, and we made a lot of contacts in the local area with potential for further adventure. All in all a good session. I look forward to next week.
*I'm not quite sure I'm spelling this right, I'm sorry to say. All I managed to retain thus far is our paladin has a high concentration of umlauts in his name.
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