Sunday, August 1, 2010

LL at Paul's: Casualties


Here we are again, spinning tales of adventure and larceny about the good ol' weekly Labyrinth Lord session. Lets begin, shall we?

So when last we etc. etc., the group was limping our overburdened way down a long hallway toward a set of stairs down to what we hoped would be an exit, pursued by a medusa and her lizardman minions after having made a five fingered ownership transference of several sacks worth of gold, silver, and electrum coins from the ancient storehouse of the lost kingdom of Koral Gesh, located in the mountains beneath the shrine of Kor.

We hustled down the hall at a laborious pace, alert for danger from all directions. Finally, we made it to the end and around the corner to a set of downward stairs.

We left a cask of oil flaming at the top of the stairs to discourage pursuit and made our way down. We'd explored most of the level below, and were headed toward a large chamber that seemed to lead outside, but the area where we were heading was unknown to us.

About halfway down the stairs, our handy dandy floating disc, conjured by our halfling mage Elef, ran out of magical go juice and vanished, forcing us to lug the sacks of coins on our own aching backs. If only the thing had been coin operated...

It emptied out into a large bunkroom, more military barracks I presume, that was in a profound state of disarray. There were two doors in one corner that seemed to match to our map of this level, so with hope dawning we inched our way across the large, 40'X50' space, our progress slowed by having to climb over overturned furniture and wreckage.

Just when it was looking like we'd get clear, we got jumped by a bunch of animate shadows, who's chill touch could drain strength. These creatures weren't undead in the true sense, even though they were something like evil spirits, so my cleric The Deacon couldn't turn 'em. Also, since they were literally shadows, normal weapons passed right through them. So it was down to Yøgund's Vadium sword, the fancy gem sword weilded by Klint, and the Deacon's Mojo stick to fend the fiends off.

After a brief, furious fight we banished the foes back to the shadows they grew from. I think the Deacon kerploded one with the Mojo Stick. (It don't hit often, but when it does, whoa nelly!) but sadly the creatures' ghostly touch had drained a bit of Yøgund's strength and left Elef more than a little worse for wear.

We paused at the door and decided to have the halfling cast his other spell for the day: Detect Magic. Partly this was so we had a good accounting of what magic we had in hand for dealing with future threats, and part of it was kind of... I dunno... bastardly on our part in that if the little guy was gonna kick it, we wanted to get our stuff sussed out before we had to lower him into a 3' hole.

He observed that Klint's sword was indeed magic, as well as two rings we'd found in the royal bedchambers. So we're kind of trying to figure out what they do, but there's been nothing conclusive yet.

Anyway, that task done, we headed out the door, and were pleased to find it did indeed connect to the floor as we'd predicted from the map, so we hoofed it to the large fountain chamber where we could see daylight streaming in from a big set of double doors.

We lugged our load across the ancient chamber and out into the cold light of the high mountains, and found ourselves on a large terrace overlooking an expanse of mist that turned out to be a layer of clouds over a sheer cliff face dropping hundreds of feet below down the high mountainside.

As we desperately searched for some way off of the terrace, a smug female voice called out to us, gloating at having caught the thieves who'd looted her master's treasure house. We turned, keeping our eyes carefully averted, and saw the medusa, standing with a trio of lizard men ready to attack us.

She offered us a deal where if we dropped the treasure she'd let us leave the dungeon alive. We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and turned with drawn swords. The Deacon strummed a couple chords on his mandolin and laid a Bless spell on the group, giving us a little very needed combat edge. Yøgund downed the Potion of Haste we'd picked up from somewhere, giving him two attacks per round and making him fast on his feet.

We'd lugged all this crap a few hundred feet too far to give it up now, and she was evil anyhow, so that was that. Enough was frikkin' enough, it was crazy go nuts time!

The lizard men charged us as we ran at them, meeting in a clash of swords and tridents. Yøgund dodged around them with his Flash like speed and went straight for the medusa, fighting at a disadvantage both from not being able to look directly at his foe, and from being weakened by the shadow's touch in the fight before.

The two of them engaged in some witty wordplay, speaking to one another as if they were flirting at a fancy ball (And it was good dialog too. Wish I could remember any of it, but Yøgund's player was really shining with the Errol Flynn repartee). He got some good hits in too, but alas his wits and his sword arm didn't protect him when one of the creature's serpentine locks darted forth and bit him, slaying our comrade with it's fell poison.

So now of course, the party was pissed. We polished off the lizard men and Amos, our one armed elf henchman, and the Deacon charged in on the medusa. She tried striking up more witty banter, but all the Deacon could muster by way of response was wild swings with the Mojo Stick. Sadly, my dice were about as cold as poor Yøgund was gonna be in a few minutes, and I just kept whiffing over her head like an uncoordinated kid at a piñata party.

Amos was having better luck, and the other deciding factor was Elef, who bravely/foolishly looked right at her and threw a dagger. The dagger struck true, and put her close to death, but it also meant he got a faceful of gaze, and was instantly turned into a lawn ornament. (A fact that we indeed mused on after the fight was done. Hey, after throwing the dagger he was even in a perfect pose to hang a lantern on his hand... But I get ahead of myself...)

I think it was finally Amos who got the fatal strike in, slashing the monstrous creature's throat. As she fell, she gasped out an apology to some unknown master, and her snakes went limp.

So there we were, down two more party members, stuck on a mountainside, and with a lot of heavy problems on our hands. We were down to three and a half able bodied party members, with a fifth, Gentleman Jack Getz, still gravely sick from that centipede bite and little more than a shambling, whining load.

We caught our breath, and got down to business.

We pulled a bag over the medusa's head and severed it, thinking maybe this would be prized by some wizard or something back in civilization.

We had no choice with Elef, as he was now a solid granite statue and we were terribly overloaded as it was. So we left the little guy on the balcony alongside the ancient statues of Ilmorian kings and sorcerers, facing the sun. As a courtesy, we scratched "This is Elef the wizard. A brave companion. He is petrified. Please de-petrify him if you are able." on the stone of some of his gear. Maybe he'd get lucky, sooner or later. (Probably later... much later... Ah well.)

Yøgund presented us with a serious dilemma. By dying from poison rather than being petrified, we had a good shot of getting him raised from the dead, but unfortunately there was a time limit on doing that, and we were probably not going to make it in time. Regardless, we decided to bring him along. We stripped him of his heavy gear and bundled him up, then lashed him to the Deacon's back to drag him out of that hellhole.

Lacking a path down, we decided to go up, using Klint's rope to climb up the face of the edifice set into the mountain and upward to the peak. From there, we painfully picked our way down the other side of the mountain, until finally we reached the shrine of Kor, spotting it's dome from high above about midday and taking the rest of the day to climb back down. If we were lucky, our donkey would still be there and we could load him up with our swag and hoof it home.

Well... we weren't lucky. When we got to the shrine, all we found was a frayed rope and some gnawed bones. Dammit.

With heavy heart and aching backs, we trudged down the mountain, dragging our dead or disabled comrades and a huge heap of cashola with us.

Passage out of the mountains and down to the road to Restenford mercifully passed without incident, and a few days later we limped into the coastal village, and made a beeline to Almox the druid's home. We had some apologizing to do about bringing his son back short an appendage.

Despite our ragged looks and the maiming and everything, we were welcomed by the druid and his lovely elven wife.

Sadly, it was past the time limit to raise Yøgund, so we started to turn our thoughts to the other method available to bring a character back, Reincarnation. This is a high level wizard spell, and it's a bit more complicated 'cos the subject can come back as something other than human. Of course, I think it would be cool to get Yøgund back as a unicorn or pegasus, but his player didn't seem to be so hot on being our little pony.


So we bid Almox farewell after divvying up our loot and making sure young Amos got his share, and repaired ourselves to the Inn of the West Wind, the swankiest joint in town, where we proceeded to rent the nicest rooms we could get and set ourselves up for a little R&R. We planned on visiting Pelltar the archmage on the morrow, but for now, we could use a little recuperation. Gentleman Jack finally got over his centipede poisoning and rented a room for himself to just wallow in luxury for a night.

While we chilled in our room, Klint had a little attack of conscience and failed his saving throw, and revealed a bag he'd found and snagged somewhere in the depths of the ruin. Turned out, it was a Bag of Holding, full of more cash and gems, as well as a couple of potion flasks. Sweet! It probably would have been handy to know about this thing earlier... Non-Sweet!

Anyway, we slept well, and the next day went around to see Pelltar. He received us cordially. He informed us he didn't quite have the magical horsepower to bring Yøgund back, so we resigned ourselves to burying him with a nice plaque at the wayfarer's house he'd established.

We gave the wizard the medusa's head as a curio, just to keep on his good side. We were a little skittish about pulling it out of the bag, but he maintained it's power had probably waned by then, which he proved by yanking it out suddenly. Once we all got up from under the table, we agreed, the grisly trophy was pretty much that, just a grisly trophy. Since Pelltar had a taste for freakish taxidermy, it seemed like a nice gesture.

Klint had begun to learn a little magic from Elef, and since the spellbook he'd been practicing with was now a chunk of granite, he asked Pelltar if he'd take on another apprentice. The wizard asked him if he planned to give up adventuring, to which he said no, and so Pelltar turned him down, dryly noting that we had kinda bad luck keeping mages alive in our group. He did, however, offer to sell our burgeoning wizard some magical primer material he could self study, provided he promised to do it far outside of inhabited areas.

Finally, we contracted Philben, one of his apprentices, to ID the potions we'd found, and then we took our leave. We were still on tap to find out what had happened to Koode and Talin Zin, and that's probably what we'll be embarking on in our next session.

So yeah, a real heartbreaker of an ending to our explorations of Koral Gesh. I mean, I guess we got what we came for, namely Klint's frikkin' magic see in the dark toque (and several large heaps of treasure, truth be told), but at what cost?

At... what... cost?

Anyway, thanks again to Paul for running, and the rest of the 10d gamers, for another action packed session.

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