So, when last we left our heroes, they'd been mysteriously disintigrated by a magic rune. The fine powder that had once been the party's component molecules gently wafted down the haunted hallways of Stonehell, eventually settling in the nostrils of a goblin named Sphagnum, who sneezed, giving away his location to an irate owl bear, who stuffed the hapless beetle herder into its throat sac for later regurgitation to its young.
Okay, seriously, we made it through the rune okay and landed last week in a disused study full of mouldering books, which we searched, finding little of value, if I recall. There was another rune of teleportation in this room, so we all touched it and teleported to a new location. (Except, of course, for Koode and Talen Zin, who for all we know are still at the original rune, scratching their heads and wondering what they're gonna do now they don't have the map, or any kind of heavy combat support. Lord knows how we're gonna hook up with the poor bastards again...)
Now here the narrative gets a *little* hazy because I was in hench-mode for the early part of this week's session. Massachusetts had gotten a bit of extra rain over the weekend, resulting in flooding which closed all roads to Paul's place except for Rt. 2, which was choked with traffic, making me about 1/2 hour late and making me consider casting Cause Light Wounds on somebody.
The intervening story, as far as I can tell, was the group found themselves in a chamber with a magical statue that spoke and offered them the answers to up to three questions. The group informed me they couldn't really think of any good questions, so they asked it a bunch of random stuff and moved on.
This led them to a room whose walls were coated in ash and soot, save for spots where the silhouettes of humanoid figures could be picked out. Here they met a lone dwarf, who introduced himself as Grut. Now, Grut apparently wasn't the sharpest pick in the mine, but he seemed like an okay fella. He'd come with in with another group of adventurers, who'd all died of causes the dwarf wasn't quite eloquent enough to describe. Lacking anything better to do, he joined our doughty band of stalwarts.
From the blast room, we headed west, and came to a chamber containing a mound of trash and broken furniture. Everybody with poles or pole arms started rooting around in the debris. We weren't quite willing to sift through the garbage by hand, but turning over a couple of bits we might get lucky.
Well, we got the opposite of lucky, turning over a chair seat to find a nest of angry cobras, but this was much ameliorated by the use of some poles to put distance between us and the serpents' fangs. Grut dove in with his war pick and spiked one right between the eyes, and then left it attached to his weapon like a grotesque ribbon, dubbing it his "snake pick". The Deacon swatted a couple knots on the top of another snake's head, while Liam, Yogund, and Melchoir finished off the rest.
Moving past the trash room to the west, we found a crossroads marked by a rusted metal signpost. The sign that hung from it pointed west, and bore a scrawled message in kobold. The only one among us who could read kobold was Grut, and he was only semi-literate, so the message got translated as "Dragun Ded". A dead dragon? Maybe. Between a half literate writer and a half literate reader, there's a lot lost in translation, as we shall see.
Heading further down the hall, we came to a large natural cavern about 20'X20', with two tunnels to the north and south. From the north tunnel we heard the yapping, jabbering voices of a bunch of kobolds, who spotted us as they came out of the darkness, buckets full of what looked like whitewash in their scaly little mitts. At this point, Yogund did a Detect Evil, and saw that whatever the little wretches were up to, it was no good, so he charged them. Following his lead, the elf, the dwarf and the two hirelings charged in as well, and soon made short work of the band of kobolds (No pun intended.) A single survivor managed to scamper down the north tunnel, so Liam and Yogund gave chase, lest it sound the alarm.
Sadly, this put them outside the range of the group's lantern. Liam could see just fine, and found a cave full of stalagmites and stalagtites, the roof of which was crawling with bats, and the floor of which was thick with guano. All Yogund could see was the glowing red pulse of the kobold's evil little heart, beating rapidly as the little monster cowered in a cleft in the rock. The paladin's fervor got the better of his blindness, and he fell face first into the guano. Pulling himself off of the floor, he charged the little beast, honing in on the glow from Liam's blade as the elf also pressed his attack. In desperation, the kobold drew his rusty shortsword and managed to shank Liam pretty good before he went down. Yogund used his paladinic "lay on hands" ability, and mended the elf's wounds a bit.
By this time, the Deacon carried the lantern into the room at the heels of Melchoir and Strang. Seeing as the final kobold was dead, and the bats on the roof seemed edgy and ready to swarm, the group backed out and went back to the first cave, hucking the lifeless bodies of the kobold guano harvesting crew into the cave. Maybe they would have wanted it that way. Who can tell with the little chihuahuas from hell...
From there, we delved south, findinding a tunnel to the west and one heading straight south. We followed the latter one, and found ourselves in another cavern with a large stone well at the center. Peering over the edge, we lit a torch and dropped it to see how deep it was. It fell maybe 30 feet or so before fluttering out. Then we decided to lower Liam down to take a look. After some botheration about how to properly secure a one armed elf to 50 feet of rope and working out the tug/scream code for raising and lowering him, we lowered him down. He got down about 40 some feet before we ran out of rope, and said he saw a dirt floor maybe 20 more feet down, and a stiff breeze from below that must have extinguished the torch. That info in hand, we started pulling him up.
This, of course, is when another crew of kobolds came to see what all the racket at the last cave was. Grut let go of the rope and charged the little beggars, cracking down on kobold skulls with his dead snake festooned pick, leaving Melchoir, Strang, and Yogund to hastily pull up Liam. We had some trouble with strength rolls, but got him most of the way up. The Deacon grabbed the slack end of the rope and ran to tie it off on a stalagmite, in case we got charged, and sent Strang and Melchoir down the hall with polearms readied to help Klint and Grut.
After a fierce battle, we'd slain most of them, with four of the little murderers scuttling away toward the hall with the signpost. I think Klint and Liam followed them a little way and saw them head up the north passage, bit I'm not 100% sure.
The party then regrouped and decided to explore down a corridor to the west leading from the well room. We got to a rather nondescript cave, and found a tunnel leading south, which changed from the rough stone of the caverns to more worked stone at a four way intersection. Since that opened up a lot more options, we decided to double back and check out the other areas we'd passed up before pressing on.
This took us to the opening to the west just south of the cave where we first encountered the kobolds. We wound up a northward curving passage, until we came to a large cave with a pool of water dominating the north end, it's floor covered in scattered bones of various small animals, and possibly some kobolds. The party fanned out, with Klint watching from the door as the Deacon and Melchoir went along the walls searching for secret doors, and Strang took his spear and probed under the bones. Yogund and Grut stood looking into the subterranian pool, and it was here that the kobolds' "dragon" made its appearance.
A large shape dropped from the cieling, hissing aggressively. A giant cave gecko! It bit Yogund with savage, saw like teeth, and the battle was joined. The party circled the pale, scaly beast and quickly did it to death with hacking swords and pole arms.
After the monstrous lizard was slain, we searched more thoroughly. Yogund, still covered in guano from his fall in the bat cave, jumped into the pool to wash off, and spotted a crevice in the wall stuffed with copper pieces. He pulled these out, and found a copper circlet among them. Since we didn't really want to loot what was essentially pennies from an abandoned fountain, we only kept the diadem, and left the rest behind. We also cut the paws off of the lizard, thinking that maybe we could get them made into some kind of weird grappling hook/climbing apparatus due to the gecko's ability to stick to walls. We'll see.
Having established that in addition to no sense of grammar and spelling, the kobolds also lacked a sense of scale when it came to "dragons", we decided to head back to the four way intersection with the signpost. There, we headed south, and came upon a supremely ugly doorway of a scowling orc/demon face with bared fangs encircling the door. (This was accompanied by an awesome illustration from what I presume is the Stonehell book. Yeah, if it were me and not an imaginary cleric, I probably wouldn't go through it. Nice stuff.)
We spent a while checking this out for traps and other unpleasantness, but found it otherwise harmless, except aesthetically. This area, based on what Grut told us, was the entry to the dungeon known as "hellmouth" or somesuch. Beyond a short tunnel with bas reliefs depicting gleeful imps up to the usual impishness, we found a matching door on the other side, which in turn opened onto a large chamber with a spiral staircase at the center, which the dwarf informed us was the way he and his lamented companions came in.
There were four archways, two south and two north (including the one we came in), as well as a door in the southeast corner. We decided to take the other north tunnel, and soon found ourselves in a 20' X 30' room that apparently was the sight of another explosion (or perhaps the same explosion that made the outlines in the room where we found Grut).
From there was a charred doorway to the east, which we shoved open, and found a large room that looked to have been a feast hall at one time, as attested by the long tables, torn tapestries, battered shields, and broken furniture. We searched around a bit in here, but found nothing, so decided to head through a door we found to the south.
This area turned out to be a kitchen, long disused, with empty tables and long rotted foodstuffs. In one corner was a basin with a pump. Yogund and the Deacon went over to check it out. Yogund postulated that maybe valuables were hidden in the pump and we should dismantle it. The Deacon suggested trying to work the pump as, you know, a pump. While logical, this turned out to be a BAD idea, although it also led to some choice gaming shenanigans.
The cleric stepped up to the pump and worked it a few times. A gurgling sound issued from the tap, and moments later a stream of nasty, green slime started pouring out. Yeah... exactly... green slime. Eeuuggghhh...
Anyway, as the basin filled with the vile ooze, the Deacon shouted for everyone to clear back, and we mostly did, except for brave, foolhardy Yogund, who stood his ground as the slime reared up and slopped out of the basin and onto the floor. As the rest of the party frantically lit torches, the stuff crawled across the floor and glommed onto the hapless paladin's leg, and started to climb up it.
This, of course, is a very bad thing.
So we shouted at him to lose the greaves as Grut and Liam started whaling on Yogund's shins with lit torches. The henchmen were sent to grab tapestries and busted furniture from the other room to make more fire with. Someone, I think Liam, got a good hit in with a torch, burning both it and Yogund badly as the paladin furiously unbuckled his greaves, getting bits of slime on his gauntlets as well. The Deacon stepped in and healed Yogund so that he'd survive us burning him with torches.
By the mercy of Palenthor and the Allmaker we got him out of his shoes and pants as well, finally tossing away the guantlets as we furiously burned every bit of green slime in the sink and on the floor. As the last of the horrible slime sizzled and fizzed away, we took stock. Yogund was okay, except for some bad burns on his legs, and... well... being pretty much stripped naked from the waist down. (Apparently paladins go commando. More info than I wanted to know...)
Prithee, sir knight. Sheath thyne mighty blade.
And put your sword away too.
(Shorts added for clarity. Image produced by our DM. Not my fault.)
And put your sword away too.
(Shorts added for clarity. Image produced by our DM. Not my fault.)
We wrapped up the session, literally, by cutting up a spare cloak to fashion a crude kilt and wrappings for Yogund's feet, and decided to call it a night.
This, my friends, is the kind of gonzo insanity that is the best that gaming has to offer. (Well, okay, maybe not the best, but still, lots of fun.) The fight between the green slime and Yogund the paladin's pants was at turns epic, tactical, desperate, and frikkin' ridiculous, and we laughed for a good fifteen minutes. Another one for the record books.
Thanks again to Paul, and the 10d gamers. And thanks to the Allmaker that due to his compromised armor class, Yogund's gonna be walking behind the Deacon for a while.