Hey ho! Yet again we have the word from the Labyrinth Lord game.
The week before I didn't manage to attend because of crunchiness at work, so to give a repetition of the capsule version of our group's adventures with the Deacon in hench-mode.
Apparently, as we searched the gnoll camp, we found that the subject of our search and rescue, young Amos the half elf ranger, had already been sacrificed to whatever carrion diety the gnoll's worshiped, so with heavy heart the group carried his corpse back to Almox and Feldara.
Luckily, the magic pool that Almox presided over apparently had a "reset" feature installed, and through its power the hapless lad was brought back to life. Hugs all around.
From there, I guess the group decided to go after the magical, see in the dark night cap that we'd heard about from the sage in Bridgefair, so we set out toward the mountains to the north. We hired a wilderness guide by the name of Mac the Lizard, who was willing to guide us thru the mountains to the shrine referenced in the scrap of poetry we'd bought.
On the way, we encountered and battled a pack of wild boars, defeated them, and then proceeded to convert them into a mother lode of bacon. This is where the Deacon joins the narrative as a fully functioning party member.
Anyway, we had a ways more to go, so we travelled on through the wilderness. The following night, we camped on the mountainside and set watches. About the time of the second watch, which I think was the Deacon and our new thief, Gentleman Jack Getz.
As we sat up watching and listening, we heard the sound of wolves howling, getting closer and closer. Getz hurriedly awoke Yøgund the paladin, and none too soon, as a quartet of HUGE wolves padded menacingly into the edges of the campfires light and sprang to the attack.
Yøgund charged up the hill with his magic sword and stood in battle with two of the beasts, as a third chased Getz back toward the rest of the sleeping adventurers. The fourth charged the Deacon, who took up a burning log from the fire and whaled on the slavering beast's noggin'.
Elef the halfling, crouching behind his ensorcelled gnoll flunky, whom we'd dubbed "Gneal", managed to cast sleep, sending one of the pair attacking Yøgund to beddybye and making his job a lot easier.
The Deacon got a couple of decent hits in on his wolf, but the thing wasn't catching fire as well as I would have hoped (Paul kept rolling 1's on fire damage.) while the fourth wolf savaged the rest of the group.
Our wilderness guide, Mac the Lizard, lived up to his moniker and scuttled away into the darkness while the unarmored contingent of the party got gnawed on pretty well. Soon, things were looking grim for the group, with a couple of the team getting reduced to 0 and taking some injuries on Paul's critical injury table, so the Deacon fell back, waving his flaming log in the wolf's mush, to see if he could slip some heals in there.
Finally, Yøgund managed to finish off the beast he was fighting, while Klint (I think, or maybe Elef) slipped around and slit the throat of the sleeping wolf. This tipped the balance and made the remaining pair decide that discretion is the better part of valor and slip off into the darkness. The Deacon healed up the party members suffering from severe HP deficiencies and we went back to bed.
The next morning, another round of patching up, fixing any broken limbs and the like, and we were on our way. We got to the foot of the mountain trail leading up to the shrine we sought, but it was barely there, and much too narrow for our horses. Mac the Lizard, who'd returned in the morning after our wolf issues, accepted the rest of his payment and departed, followed soon after by young Garund Greyward, our groom, who took our horses back down the road to Restenford.
We hiked into the mountains, following the winding goat track, and eventually came to the shrine, a pillared, domed affair set into the side of the mountain, with a standing statue of it's deity standing in the center with upraised palms. The statue looked to have at one time held something like a mirror or lens in its hands.
The scrap of poetry we'd managed to barter from the sage in Bridgefair referred to a door being indicated by the rising of the sun, so we surveyed the landscape, looked around the shrine, and by guesswork and eyeballing figured out where the sun would point at the time referenced by the poem. This led us to a pillar, which when searched revealed a hidden door with an iron run ladder leading down into the depths of the mountain.
Since we were still a bit bunged up from the wolf encounter the prior day, we braced the secret door shut, to avoid any subterranian surprises popping up on us, and bedded down for the night in the relatively peaceful surroundings of the shrine. Once the Deacon's spells had been recovered, I topped up those who needed some hit point refills and we made our way down into the depths.
At the bottom of the shaft, we found a long, loong, loooooooong tunnel leading to the south, about 2 hours worth of walking. At the end of this tunnel we found a door, beyond which was a room storing huge wooden casks that were revealed to be full of some noisome, sulfurous smelling liquid. In one corner of the room we found the corpses of a trio of dungeon delvers. We also found a giant spider lurking in the broken out shell of one of the huge barrels, which sprang to attack us.
Yøgund took the creature on from one side while either Melchior the hireling or Kashim of the Long Sands took on from the other, as Elef, who I think was the one who discovered the thing, beat a hasty retreat to take cover behind Gneal the Gnoll.
It was a fairly straightforward fight, the cool part was, for me, that the Deacon got to use a new magic weapon to finish the beast off.
The party had gotten a hold of the gnoll shaman's staff after we looted the bodies, and it had turned up magical when a Detect Magic was cast. Elef had been carrying it, but it turned out halflings can't use weapons that size, so it was given to me. (Perhaps after the wolf fight, now that I think on it.) When Gneal the Gnoll saw it in my hands, rattling with bird skulls and an entire mummified squirrel tied to it with a thong, he intoned the word "Breeshk" which we took for the command word. So as we fought the spider, I said the word and the staff started to buzz with power. I took a wack at it, and did 2d6 points of damage, causing the thing to kerplode and spray spider guts all over the party's front line. AWESOME! So yeah, now the Deacon's got a mojo stick!
(I hope the rest of the group and the internet in general will forgive me going on about awesome stuff my character's got. It's my blog, after all...
If you don't like it, get your own blog, or your own mojo stick!)
So from there we struck out through a door to the south. We found a short hallway leading to another doorway at a corner going west. Checking inside, we found a mud room. No, not a room for taking off muddy shoes, a room with a shallow pool and a thick layer of slippery mud coating the floor. Most of us took a glance around and moved on, but Klint the thief became convinced that there HAD to be something good in the pool, and proceeded to strip down and wallow around in the mud for a while.
Yes, well. Good show and all that. Whatever d's your 20's.
Once the mystical wonders of the mud room had been exhausted, we rounded the corner and found a 5 foot wide fissure breaking across the hallway. After much deliberation and suggestion of Rube Goldberg type devices we used a rope around the waist to secure ourselves as we leapt across, which is good since I think the Deacon blew his jump check like three times in a row and had to be repeatedly hauled back up to try again. Embarrassing.
After we'd all gotten across, we found ourselves at a crossroads of tunnels. I'm not 100% sure if we went back the west corridor or got jumped at the crossroads, but we ran into a cadre of hobgoblins, who came down the corridor at us with polearms leveled in a narrow phalanx formation. As Yøgund and Kashim braced the front row with their heavy AC and flashing blades, the spellcasters got to work. The Deacon cast Hold Person on one of the hobs, while Elef worked his Charm Person on another. Thankfully, this one spoke common (unlike Gneal the Gnoll, who just followed Elef around like a slavering, carrion scented puppy.) and was asked to kindly start slashing up his former comrades. Between the spellcasting and a strong offensive line, we beat back the hobgoblins to their camp at the end of the corridor.
We put the held one and a couple of others who surrendered to the sword, after a brief debate about trying to charm them. (Long story short, not a good idea 'cos we'd have to have them stewing around looking for a chance to bust loose for two days while Elef recharged his spells.)
The charmed hobgoblin identified himself as Sergeant Grimmer (later dubbed Sgt. Grumpus in the inevitable distortion of names that happens in table talk). He was part of a larger contigent of hobgoblins who'd been sent to scout for a conquering army intent on taking some local sea ports for conquest of the human lands. (Note to the party. THIS IS IMPORTANT! I think we need to get back to Restenford and drop a couple copper pieces about this...) When Grumpus let it be known that there was another force of hobgoblins waiting down the east corridor for his group to return at lunchtime, the party's thinking caps all whirred into motion, and we started coming up with nefarious plans to ambush them. (Now any mages out there with Detect Sarcasm will note that the screen is glowing a bit at this point.)
We scouted down the corridor in question, and found a similar fissure in the floor to the one we'd jumped earlier, only this one was bridged with a plank. We discussed sending our man Grumpus down to lure a contigent of them over so we could take them piecemeal, which didn't seem like a bad idea. The other idea was to lie in wait for them for an ambush, although we were aware that it was going to be three hours before the larger group got suspicious of the detachment's lateness and came looking. Still, this is the plan we came up with, and we were sticking to it. For good measure, we pulled the plank and made a cut thru it, so that the first hob across would break thru it and fall.
So we waited at the base of a set of stairs about 10 feet past the south corridor. For three hours. At this point I'll forgo any literary artifice and state flatly THIS WAS A VERY BAD IDEA.
As we crouched on the stairs, convinced of the brilliance of our scheme, a party of lizard men came down the stairs behind us, intent on grabbing a bite of delicious mammal. Yes, in our machiavellian brilliance, we'd reminded our DM just what wandering monster checks were good for, as he mentions on his post on the session. Since our modus operandi is to put strong fighters in the front and weaker guys in back, of course they're exactly in the right place at the right time (for them).
After some frantic repositioning and waving of mojo sticks, we managed to fend them off and send them packing, and thanks above to the merciful Allmaker that we didn't have a bunch of pissed off hobgoblins on our other flank.
It was here, as we caught our breath, that we ended the session.
I hope this all doesn't come off as too snarky, as I'm trying to be more tongue in cheek than anything else, and Lord knows I'm as much implicated in this peccadillo as the rest of the group, so I'm not trying to come across as Deacon Know it All. I just think this session we crossed the line from "clever" to "too clever", and allowed our tactics to get overly baroque. It happens when the generation of ideas becomes too free form without any overriding focus. Well, ya live n' learn, and hope that it don't cost ya too many Cure Light Wounds.
Anyway, thanks once again to Paul and the 10d gamers for a fun session.