Can I keep just asking questions through this whole post?
Anyway, when we left our greatly eroded group last, we were back in the sleepy, slightly fishy town of Restenford, recuperating after having gone through a long, harrowing, 50% fatal quest to find our thief a hat.
So most of this session was running errands and gadding about town. We bought rations, traded horses, and sought out next of kin for our late henchman Fedyeka the Bastard. Being, as he was, a bastard, he didn't really have much in the way of kinfolk to pass on the meagre handful of electrum that he'd left behind.
So, the Deacon had the bright idea of going down to Falco's, where we tend to hire our hirelings, and established a Strang and Fedyeka memorial bar tab, instructing the bar's dwarven proprietor to give any down on his luck fighting man a drink on the house out of the sum we gave him. I guess I'll stop in periodically to top that one up. The Deacon ain't exactly material in his needs.
We did some hiring too, with Kashim standing up and giving a rousing speech, accompanied by much gladhanding and buying of drinks, about how it was a man's life in our adventuring party.
Well we got a few applicants, a grizzled old veteran, a young, eager type, and a slightly shady character who was a little too enthusiastic about his knives. We went with the old guy, mostly on the strength of his nickname, Frog. Yet another henchman I'd love to get to play if we someday lose the Deacon. I envision him talking kind of like Tom Waits... I made sure to find out about next of kin for this one, so if (note the optimistic if) Froggy goes a dyin' the Deacon can pass on whatever inheritance his nephew might be due. I'll gladly extend this service to PC's as well...
I also finally took delivery of a hand drill I'd ordered several sessions back, for drilling holes in doors, chests, etc. and peering through them without setting off traps and the like. Hopefully it'll pan out.
After our experience with the mule up on Koral Gesh, we decided our campsite should be more secure, so we bought a couple of guard dogs. (Named Liam and Yøgund, after our dearly departed comrades.) and hired a man at arms to handle them named Darius Dogwhisperer (I made that last part up. Paul's hireling name generator gave us something else but I don't remember it.)
Well, now we had dogs we needed some way to transport them, so we bought a cart and traded up our pony (Actually, Elef's "war pony". He sure as heck doesn't need it, now that he's a pigeon roost up in the mountains.) for a couple of draft horses. We retained Garant Greywand's services as a groom, so now we've got something of a little caravan. We filled the wagon up with a month's rations for both us and the critters, and made ready to set out to Stonehell on our expedition to discover what had happened to our original mage Koode and our then hireling mage Talen Zin.
Regarding that, the only other bit of business was for Klint to obtain some scrolls to scribe into his newly bought spellbook, as he had decided to multiclass as a mage. These he was getting from Philben, apprentice to Pelltar. Of course, Pelltar has been kind of tapping his foot and checking his watch about how long we've been putting off the search for Koode's remains, so it was a kind of awkward meeting for our veteran thief when he went to pick up the goods.
We decided the longer we waited around, the more likely we were gonna get turned into frogs or something. Especially when Kashim went around to Pelltar's tower looking to buy potions and got brusquely shown the door.
So off we went, back to the caves where we'd wiped out the orcish raiders so long ago and discovered the entryway to Stonehell.
The trip was largely uneventful, since we were now pretty much an armed caravan instead of a bunch of sword wielding hoboes. We followed the road from Restenford until we came to the point in the foothills that led to the cave. Then we parked our horses and support guys there and hiked the rest of the way up, which took us longer than expected since we were all still weighted down with lots of equipment.
When we found the cave mouth we camped the night, then went in in the morning. When we got down to the T junction where we'd fought the orcs initially, we heard a loud buzzing noise, and turned in horror to see a swarm of two foot long flies making their way up the tunnel at us with a meal on their minds.
Well, since our offensive line is kind of diminished right now without Yøgund, it was the Deacon and Kashim who stepped up to repel the monsters. The Deacon got a good whack or two in with the Mojo Stick, exploding the bugs in a very "Men In Black" fashion.
Kashim skewered one, but then got a couple of really NASTY bites from the bugs and was taken down to 0, forcing a roll on the critical table that left his elbow almost bitten through. He fell back and Amos, our one armed half elf henchman, healed him up so he wasn't in danger of dying on us.
We called Frog from the back ranks, where contractually he was going to stand for a half share, and sadly he didn't live up to his moniker when it came to killing flies. Didn't stop the gravelly bastard from re-negotiating his contract on the fly (Hurr hurr.) and bringing it up to a full share of loots.
Eventually, with much waving of swords and magically explosive sticks, we killed the nasty bugs and healed our wounded, then we set out again to retrace our steps back to the stone demon face we discovered was the access to Stonehell.
The initial path was fairly uneventful, but then we got to the feast hall that had been at the end of the wavy corridor where we'd laid a smackdown on the orce. Here, we found a messy nest of something big and carnivorous, judging by the smashed furniture and heaps of bones. As we pondered this, and the new, large hole in the northwest corner of the room, an ankheg burst out of the wall. Cripes!This is what that is, by the way for those who don't know.
A big, burrowing, chitinous bugworm that spits acid.
A big, burrowing, chitinous bugworm that spits acid.
Since we'd already been gnawed on by giant bugs that day, we decided to beat a hasty retreat out the door leading to deeper in the complex. Klint's player had the AWESOME idea of tossing a ration at it to slow it down as we fled. (Good hustle! Good thinkin' on your feet!) and we fled. Kashim was the last man out, slamming the door behind him as the beast started bashing at the door, so we kept running, leaving a pool of flaming oil in our wake to discourage the thing from following us.
Eventually, we made it to the ladder up that led to the Shrine of Talen Zin, and we climbed it, glad to be away from the chittering monster.
Up top, we wound our way around, until we found the huge, sculpted face. Then up the nostril we went, seeking the hidden chamber with it's well (or privy, when Talen Zin was there. Hey, dungeon delving ain't always pretty.) that led down into the legendary lost prison complex of Stonehell.
We all climbed down in turn, with Klint coming last using his thief climb skills after untying the rope from the spike that we'd left last time we were here.
At the bottom, we found ourselves in a huge cavern full of giant mushrooms. We made our way out, following a map written on a flyleaf of a book we'd found down in this complex. (I think that's where we found it. The more memorable part of this book was being forced to strong arm Koode into letting us see it.
It led us through a succession of large caverns, the mushroom cavern, then a cavern full of giant cave crickets that started hopping at random and crashing into us and each other while making a whole huge racket. Then a cavern full of blue rock.
After this last one, the stone became worked rather than natural, and so we followed the map along the route that we'd gone on that fateful day we lost Koode and Talin (or more accurately, when they lost us).
It eventually led us to the short hallway where we'd found the glyph of teleportation, and that was just what we found. We started looking around for footprints and such.
While we did so, a rabble of orcs showed up and started threatening us, but we stepped up and threatened 'em right back, and that caused the little piggies to run wee wee wee all the way home. Punk asses.
Anyway, finding no clues, we started exploring further, on the assumption that Koode and Talin never touched the glyph and therefore set out on foot through the dungeon themselves. We found a room full of busted up statuary and searched it. It was mostly unremarkable, except when the Deacon checked out some of the larger chunks he found a hollow in one where a nice little sum of silver coins was stashed. We split it up, and I think it was about here we called it a night.
So yeah, a decent session. More logistics than looting, but that's cool. Hopefully with the cart we'll be able to haul stuff back in greater volume. (Note the optimism.) I'm looking forward to seeing what Yøgund's player rolls up, as he was absent this session. And now we're back in Stonehell, may the Allmaker help us. Hopefully we won't need too fine toothed a comb to find Koode's remains. (I've heard third hand from his player that he somehow got his face severed... Mmmm. That'll slow you up.)
Anyway, thanks again to Paul and the 10d gamers for ongoing fun.