Friday, June 18, 2010

LL at Paul's: Math Problems

Hey there folks. Time yet again for the lowdown on what went down in the Labyrinth Lord game this week.

We started out this week in the floating weapons room, having just scampered away from a bunch of floating weapons, which normally wouldn't be so bad except they were also HITTING weapons.

Were we sane people, and not, you know, adventurers, we probably would have left well enough alone and moved on to other things. However, we hadn't really searched the room very well, but when a place is so well guarded, well, PC greed sensors get set off. Also, our newly acquired henchmensch Fedyeka was lying paralyzed on the ground, so we had to drag the big lug outta there.

After some plotting and planning, we pretty much just sent Kashim and Yøgund (they of mighty blades and nice, low armor classes) in there to finish off the animated hardware. After they dropped two or three, the rest of us felt emboldened enough to go in and soon the magically levitating weapons were all knocked to the ground.

Once that was settled we set about making a thorough search of the room, picking over the forge, the weapons racks, the wooden chest, and the anvil we found there. The Deacon tried taking one of the previously flying maces outside to see what would happen. (Nothin'.)

The big score was in the anvil. We noticed that it was a little off center on the big oaken stump it was mounted on, and with a little collective elbow grease we knocked it off and discovered a fine longsword with a huge ruby in the hilt. Since Yøgund already had a magic blade, and Kashim felt himself a bit indebted right now for being brought back from the dead (plus having regained a different sort of blade when his body regenerated. Ahem....), the warriors bowed out of competition, and it came down to Gentleman Jack and Klint rolling knucklebones for it. Klint won, which shows you shouldn't play dice with a thief who's higher level than you.

Since by now we were pretty dinged up after taking repeated blows to the face and neck from flying bludgeons and cutlery, we decided to camp out for the night. We didn't want to hup it all the way up to the shrine, so we fell back to the room with the magical chalice and basin dedicated to Kor.

We nailed the door shut and set three watches, and it would have been a full night's sleep for everybody, except something started scratching at the door around third watch when we had the two party members with the least impulse control, Yøgund and Gentleman Jack, on duty (and I think young Amos was with them). Yøgund detected evil thru the door, and was getting ready to sally forth, come hell or high water.

He'd just set the young half elf waking everybody up, when a gang of skeletons burst through the door. The Deacon, feeling kind of cranky from getting woke up in the middle of his rest, sat up and turned the bony bastards, sending them all t'runnin' with some angry strums of his silver stringed mandolin.

I'm sorry to say he was a bit huffy when he rolled over and went back to sleep. (Which I'll note, to Yøgund's player, I was playacting. I hope you didn't take it as me being snippy in real life. My responses had the group wondering if they needed to detect evil on me...)

Finally, we all got a night's rest, and patched up the most greviously hurt with a few more Cure Light Wounds spells. We were revved up and ready to keep delvin'.

Since the weapon room was the final room on this level, we decided to go check out the stairway down. Through an error in mapmaking, it also turned out we'd missed a door near the stairway, which turned out to lead to a spiral staircase heading up. We decided to take this new direction, go up and map out the hallways like we'd done on the level we'd just cleared. It seems like it's an effective strategy.

So up we went, and started exploring the halls. Eventually, we found our way to a large courtyard with a fountain with a statue of a lady in the middle of it. There was a large set of double doors to the south, which had been bashed down and allowed sunlight from outside into the room. When we looked out, a vast mountain vista extended before our eyes, leading to the distant sea on the horizon.

Of course, we didn't stand out there letting the orchestral soundtrack swell majestically in the backround. Back into the dank, monster filled hole.

One interesting feature of the courtyard was the fact that the fountain was full of copper pieces and equipped with a Magic Mouth on the statue of the nice lady, which would praise you for helping the poor if you tossed a copper in, and lay a +1 guilt trip on you if you tried to take any out. There was also this sort of slime trail on the floor that traced a random pattern. My suspicion is we'll run afoul of a giant slug at some point, but take that with a grain of salt...

Anyway, the doorway to the west led to more halls, so we kept our mapping strategy in place, finding a complex of hallways that mirrored the halls on the other side of the courtyard.

Soon, we started searching the rooms, turning up a wrecked up feast hall and adjoining kitchen, and another room that was full of card playing ghosts.

Now wait, the reader might say, a roomful of card playing ghosts sounds like a fascinating encounter. Well, they pretty much just all got up and left, walking through a solid wall to the east and vanishing without so much as saying boo! As we explored this side of the complex, these apparitions kept popping up. So right now we're cautiously analytical. I don't recall Yøgund detecting any evil on 'em. From their dress we're guessing they might be ancient Ilmorians (toga party!) I'm sure more will be made of this mystery as we explore this ruin.

Actually, the room/encounter that took up the biggest chunk of the evening's session was a room that presented us with a puzzle. We found a room with three beds and a fireplace, and as we explored the fireplace, we discovered three hidden levers inside, only accessible when you stood in the chimney and faced outward. They moved right and left from center, and bore the heads of a dragon, a skull, and a gargoyle on the knobs.

Since the gaming group is composed of mostly math heavy type people, they started mapping out the different possible combinations on graph paper. I think they calculated about 32 possible variations. Somebody with more math can work out how 3 levers with 3 different positions can play out, I don't care at this point. It did become a running gag for the rest of the evening, though. "You come upon 7 levers." etc. etc.

Since I'm more on the metaphorical/symbolic side of the skill list, I tried to figure out what a dragon, a skull, and a gargoyle could represent to give us a clue, but couldn't figure anything out. To make matters worse, I also lost 3 silver pieces to Klint betting that Gentleman Jack would be set on fire at some point while he tried the levers.

Actually, what happened was a bit scarier at first. We sent the foppish thief in, and when he threw the third lever he let out a strangled gasp and collapsed. We dragged him out of the chimney and did a Cure Light Wounds on him, and were only barely able to tell that he was still breathing.

We laid him on one of the beds and then Kashim, ballsier than ever, climbed in and tried a different combo, using his hammer to push the levers side to side. He also let out a cry and collapsed, and got stretched out on one of the beds too. By this time, we were hoping the bears weren't gonna come back from their pic-a-nic...

Between the Deacon and Yøgund examining the victims, discovering tiny pinpricks on their hands or wrists, and Klint going in and taking a good look at the levers, we figured out that at least two of the levers contained poison needle traps with a paralytic. (Thankfully.)

Yøgund's player came up with a great plan for flipping the levers without touching them. Basically nailing two spikes into the wall on either side of the row of levers, then using a rope with a loop on the end to tug them in the direction we wanted.

So we set about trying a bunch of different combos. This took all of three hours of in game time, during which we got extremely lucky on the wandering monster charts. (In that Paul was rolling bupkis.) Finally, the mantlepiece shifted at the right combo, and we found a chest with some lootz inside, namely some gold, silver, platinum, and some gemstones.

From there, we went on to the next room, and discovered a chamber with racks of weapons, an empty wooden case, a cabinet, and two dead/unconscious/paralyzed hobgoblins lying in the corner. Klint pulled his shiv and made sure they were in the "dead" column for certain.

We were a bit nervous of paralytic gas, which seemed to be a popular addition to a room in these ruins, as we set about searching.

When we searched the cabinet, we had a big score! Inside was a robe, and the magical nightcap that we'd been searching for. High five for Klint!

He scampered around the corner to test out his new nightvision Santa hat and we packed up whatever other loot we found in there. I think Kashim availed himself to a pole arm to replace the one that had been de-shafted by the gelatinous cube. I'm not totally remembering if we found anything else in there. Perhaps we should go back and search a bit more next week.

Anyway, as we walked out of the room, we saw a trio of carnivorous apes approaching from the opposite direction, their leader dragging a large tree branch behind him. Without so much as a how do you do, or an ook ook, we charged to the attack.

It was a brief, brutal battle, with Yøgund and Kashim taking point while Gentleman Jack and Klint darted down a side hall and came through a doorway next to the monkeys with a surprise attack sword to the back, and we soon found ourselves with several hundred pounds of bush meat at our feet. (Although I don't recommend the party actually make monkey fritters or anything. Yøgund only has one Cure Disease spell per month, after all.)

Once we'd dispatched the apes, we ended for the night. Just a little coda of action on an otherwise very cerebral session. There's still a lot to explore and puzzle out in this place, although now we've got the nightcap that Klint's been koveting we don't really have a very hard and fast reason to stick around, and we need to get back to Restenford and gear up to go to Stonehell and figure out what the heck happened to Koode and Talin Zin on the behalf of Pelltar the archmage.

Anyhow, thanks again to Paul and the rest of the 10d gamers for a cracking session.

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