Friday, July 9, 2010

LL at Paul's: Mucking Around.

Bam! Another week of gaming! WhoPAH!

Anyway, when last we left our band of adventurers, we'd re-murdered a skeleton on a staircase after having a bit of bother with some animated suits of armor that left our half elven henchman, the lad Amos, a bit on the asymmetrical side, vis a vis having an arm lopped off.

Somehow, in the intervening week, the party's attitude somehow changed from "Holy crap! We gotta hurry back to civilization!" to "We can clear this place out at our leisure.", although Paul warned us that under no circumstances should we consider the complex "cleared out", even if we hit all of the rooms.

So a short debate ensued as to whether we should check out the rest of the current level we were on, or head upstairs and check a new floor out. We ended up deciding to go up, and so we did.

At the top of the stairs we started in on our usual procedure of mapping out the corridors before delving into the rooms. The landing was a 20' corridor with two doors to the east and west, and that was it, so we checked 'em both out.

The east door turned out to be a janitor's closet, containing a bunch of basic supplies. We found several casks of lamp oil, which several of us glommed onto, and also claimed a mop, which we figured would make a good early detection device for gelatinous cubes. We were a bit concerned about running into another one since we were finding more of those mysterious slime trails on the floor. We reckoned that if the mop's head started trailing it's strands in a weird way, that would be our signal to throw burning oil and run.

Anyway, the west door turned out to lead to more corridors so we headed through. It wound around to a long corridor with a lot of doors and open archways into rooms.

The first of these archways led into a 20'X2o' room dominated by a murky pool with several body like shapes bobbing at the surface. There was an unsettling, boggy stench in the room and a lot of the slime trails around on the flagstones. Yøgund wasn't detecting any evil, but we guessed this was home base for whatever nasty critter was sliming around the dungeon. A giant slug ain't necessarily evil, per se, but they do present a problem if it views you as a potential meal.

So, naturally, we set to plotting and planning. And, naturally, the plan involved copious amounts of both co-ordination and fire. We decided to send one of our sneaky guys forward with one of our newly found casks of lamp oil with some holes punched in it. He'd throw it in the pool, and we'd light it with flame arrows.

The task of being the cask tosser fell to Gentleman Jack Getz, so he advanced on the pool and made ready to throw the oil, while the rest of us stood in the archway with pitch dipped arrows and a torch at the ready.

Suddenly, something big and ugly surged up out of the pool, making whatever gargly fart noises a giant, tentacled, lamprey mouthed invertibrate might make when it's on the attack.

Our foppish thief hurriedly chucked the barrel, wildly missing the thing and leaving it bobbing in the water as he fled. Yøgund charged forward, swinging his sword. A long, sinuous tongue darted out of the thing's horrible maw, tipped with a poison barb that mercifully bounced off of our heroic paladin's stout plate mail. The thing then lashed out with two tentacles, grabbing Yøgund and cramming him whole into it's mouth. A harsh rasping noise filled the air as its sawlike teeth started trying to cut through his armor.

Meanwhile, the Deacon ran up with the torch, and started lashing it to his quarterstaff so that he could reach out and light the lamp oil. Meh. I was still stuck on "kill it with fire", and often times there's a slim difference between a brilliant tactical move and a total waste of a round. This time it was the latter.

In a more useful mode, Kashim and Klint ran up and grabbed the thing by the tentacles holding Yøgund, hoping to pull him loose. They managed to pull them free, causing the paladin to drop out of the thing's mouth and into the water.

Fedyeka ran in at this point and hurled the cask of oil he was holding, and managed to score 3 points with a free throw as he sank the barrel neatly into the monster's mouth and down into its gullet.

He is credit to team!

The Deacon tried to light the other cask, but only managed to put the torch out. (See. Waste of time... *sigh*)

The thing slipped its tentacle out of Kashim's grasp, but Klint held on tightly. This proved to be a problem, as it flicked a couple loops around the startled thief and pulled him into its jaws. We had to hurry now, since Klint's leather was definitely not as monster teeth proof as Yøgund's plate mail.

Frustrated with his stupid torch/wet barrel of oil plan, the Deacon tossed the staff mounted torch toward Elef the Halfling Mage, telling him to re-light it, and ran into the water with his mojo stick charging up. I think I managed to get in a good hit with it, but it was mostly the hackings and slashings of Kashim, Yøgund, and Fedyeka that finally deflated the beast. We pried its sphincter jaws open and pulled Klint out, alive and happy to be so, despite his leather armor now being a total loss.

We proceeded to search the chamber, pulling three bodies out of the water that turned out to be two sailors from someplace and a hobgoblin. We dragged the creature to the edge of the pool and cut it open, with the traditional "There's gotta be treasure in it's gizzard." adventuring mindset. I'm not sure we found anything in there, but a lot of water drained out, causing the thing to shrivel up like a salted slug. We did find quite a few silver pieces after dredging around in the pool, probably from the dead guys.

Oh, I guess we did manage to retrieve the barrel of oil from the monster's gullet. Huzzah!

Moving on, we found another archway about 20' down the main hall from the tentacle thing's room, which led us down a short corridor to a large room that looked to have been another feasting hall. There were several exits from this room, both archways and doors, and the walls were covered in tapestries. There was a master table with three chairs at the far west side, still set with dinnerware (nothing too valuable, sadly, but ah well).

We decided to check out the side doors from this chamber. The first one we checked turned out to lead into a small shrine, complete with a long dead priest of some kind lying on the floor in blue robes with a symbol of Kor stitched into the chest. He was lying in front of a small altar which contained several clay tablets inscribed with ancient glyphs.

While a couple of party members rolled the dessicated corpse for its robes, under protest from the Deacon*, Klint set about using his Read Languages thief ability to read the tablets. He managed to read about 3 out of 5 of them, and the rest we took rubbings of for later translation. I didn't look at the handouts Paul gave us too closely, but they seemed to contain a lot of info about the ancient Ilmorian city this coplex was part of. I'm sure they'll come in handy later on.

One tablet contained prayers to Kor. Klint decided to try on the robes and read 'em in the shrine while the rest of us searched the feast hall. Again, this carried considerable risk of smiting, but since we were out of the room when he did it the Deacon didn't raise much of a fuss. Nothing untoward happened to our veteran thief, although he did receive a vision of a mighty seaport of glittering towers and huge temples, with a mighty voice calling out "KOR!"

Mildly disappointed, Klint shrugged it off, bundled up the robe, and decided to try it in some of the other Kor sanctified areas in the dungeon. (All I can say is I'll be keeping an eye, and probably a good 100' running start, on him as he proceeds with his experiments in godbothering in future sessions...)

The next room leading from the feast hall turned out to be a library. Klint failed his Read Languages check in here, and so we didn't find anything of real interest. The books seemed to mostly be encyclopedias and the ancient Ilmorian version of old People magazines, and we didn't want to spend hours rifling through every book. (No, we decided to engage in a big time wasting search (in my personal opinion) elsewhere, which I'll get into later...)

Across the large chamber from the shrine and library was a set of double doors, that turned out to lead into a kitchen. There was a fire pit in one corner, and two cabinets flanking a work surface. As Kashim poked thru the ashes in the fire pit, Gentleman Jack and the Deacon both lined up in front of a cabinet and opened 'em. Mine was empty, full of collapsed shelves. Mister Getz got a bunch of giant centipedes, one of which bit him. He blew his save and dropped dead on the spot.

Game over!

Enraged, Fedyeka (taken over by Gentleman Jack's player), The Deacon, and Yøgund all charged the vermin and started smacking. The Deacon got a good hit in with the mojo stick, exploding one of the beasties, while the warriors hacked away. Soon we'd killed the big mean bugs off, and looked down at the twitching body of our foppish friend.

Now, thankfully, this encounter does have what passes for a happy ending. There was initially some confusion from our DM about the fatality of this bite. Somewhere he'd gotten the notion that giant centipedes bit with a save or die, but in reality, when one of them bites you, according to Labyrinth Lord, you just fall violently, uselessly ill for about 10 days. So happily, he wasn't dead, just reduced to a whining, puking, stumbling load. Hooray!

We moved on, following a corridor beyond an archway in the feast hall to the north, which led to another long hall of doors and an archway. When we reached the arch, we found that beyond was another chamber with another pool, this time with a fireplace built into the west wall.

It's here where OCD seems to have posessed the party, as the group became convinced that there was something wonderful underneath the nasty, stanky, crapulent water.

I envision it kind of like this, but not so fresh. And there's no Wendy's nearby either...

Klint and Fedyeka dove in and tried to swim around, searching the bottom. This made our hefty henchman sick to his stomach when he blew his save, and he ended up joining Gentleman Jack on the fainting couch. (By which I mean, a corner where they could puke in peace...)

Undaunted, the rest of the party set about bailing the filthy water out of the pool using the halves of Fedyeka's breastplate as an impromptu scoop. Naturally, most of the stankwater just ran across the floor and back into the pool, so they started hauling it out and sloshing it into the hall. Lovely...

As for the Deacon, well, he wanted none of that, so he stood guard, with the understanding that if they found the most fabulous object in the world under the crap at the bottom he'd gladly sign away his share of it.

Eventually, all this sewage treatment attracted the attention of the wandering monster table, and a couple frikkin' ghouls came creeping down the hallway wondering what all the splashing was.

The Deacon sent one packing with a few strums on the silver strings of his mandolin, but the other one charged up and attacked. I don't think he was much of a challenge as we mobbed him and pretty much demolished him.

I may recall one of the fighters got paralyzed, either Yøgund or Kashim. I think it was Klint and his awesome shiny sword of shiny awesomeness the finished the critter off. The paralyzed party member was put on the pile with the rest of the puke patrol. And that was about where we wrapped up.

So overall a good session. This one seemed to blow by really fast for some reason. Partly it was we got a late start, but otherwise we were in a good vibe. I do think we're monsterbating a bit with this pool of muck, but whatever, I'm only one vote out of 5. If I'm proved wrong I'll be happy to admit it.

Thanks again to Paul and the rest of the 10d gamers for another cracking session.

*Look, there are certain classes of corpse you need to be careful about. I'm not much of a fan of looting human (or elf, dwarf, or halfling) bodies to begin with, but clerics, and to a lesser degree wizards, are ones you should approach with caution. They might be dead, but there is still a danger. Wizards might have magical spoiler stuff tucked in their robes. As for clerics, well, they might be dead, but their patron diety might not take too kindly to rifling through the pockets of one of their devotees for spare change and uncashed lottery tickets, let alone swiping their vestments and dumping the bones in a corner. Just a thought...

As Buckaroo Banzai once said while performing brain surgery "Don't tug on that, you don't know what it's attached to."

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