Sunday, November 21, 2010

Belated Session Reports 18-19: Yet More Stonehell

At the conclusion of session 17 of Arandish Campaign 2010, Innominus the Cleric and Uncle Junkal the Bard both leveled up, so the party now consists of:

Innominus, Follower of Endra (Clr.-4)
Uncle Junkal, Rodian Bard (Bard-3)
Hazel, Human Warrior (Ftr.-3)*
Dak (Dwarf-2)**
Yor (Dwarf-2)**

Gorgo (Dwarf-2)
Harry (Halfling-1)
Uncle Junkal's charmed Rock Troll 

*As of Session 17, Hazel began mysteriously manifesting arcane spellcasting abilities, and is therefore leveling as a Magic-User for the next three experience levels -- thereafter she will multi-class according to the rules in the LL AEC p. 24.

**Dak's and Yor's players missed session 18 but returned for session 19.

And so:  The party began Session 18 (day 41 of the campaign, game-time, and the party's third day in Stonehell) in a small room with a central well wherein they rested for 8 hours.  During the last watch of the night (I think - my notes on this are sketchy), during which Innominus kept guard, a faint scraping sound was heard emanating from deep inside the well.  Investigating, Innominus spotted a stone being pushed out of its place along one side of the well, as if something was tunneling its way into the well from some adjacent subterranean space.  Innominus waked his comrades, and upon peering into the well, the others observed a large piece of stonemasonry get pushed and fall with a splash into the depths of the well, and a ghastly humanoid head wrapped in bandages was now poking into the well shaft from the opening thus created.  A smell of musty death pervaded the air, which the party recognized as likely belonging to a mummy.  As this first mummy crawled out of its hole and began climbing up the side of the well toward the party, a second bandage-wrapped head poked out of the opening as well.  However, sadly for these two mummies, Hazel had a ward against undead she acquired somewhere along the way, and she activated it now.  The mummies were unable to proceed up the well shaft or get anywhere near the party, and were stymied.

The party then headed south, into a section of the dungeon they had never visited before.  After bypassing a dangerous scything blade trap, they came across a spike driven into the floor with a human skull perched on top.  Etched into the skull were some words in a language no party member could read, and an insignia they had seen before: that of the hobgoblinish Skullface Occupational Army. The party proceeded southward with caution.

Soon they came to a partially caved-in section of corridor, and Uncle Junkal persuaded the rock troll to dig through the rubble.  They broke through into a large chamber with a white tile floor and two large 8' pillars encrusted with glowing gems of different colors.  One of the PCs -- my notes don't reveal whom -- stepped out into the middle of the tiled room, only to be struck by a beam of yellow light that made the character feel refreshed and healed.  Close inspection of the pillars --was this Innominus? -- revealed nothing beyond the fact that the "gems" were in fact multi-colored lenses set deep into the pillars.

Proceeding west, the party came to a corridor section with doors on either side -- careful prowling reveled these to lead to rooms of various kinds inhabited by hobgoblins: a kitchen, a small infirmary, a mountain lion wrangler's cat-pen.  Stealthily bypassing these areas, the party penetrated further east, reaching a hobgoblin sentry post manned by three hobgoblin soldiers standing near a wall-mounted gong.  Innominus swiftly cast Hold Person on these three hobgoblin sentries, and NPCs Gorgo and harry began dismounting the gong from the wall.  Thus ended the session. . .

Session 19 opened with four hobgoblin patrolmen approaching the sentry room from the east.  Battle ensued after all four hg's saved vs. Dak's poison, and despite this early coup for the hobgoblins, thanks to some oil-flask throwing by Uncle Junkal and a critical mace hit by Innominus, these monstrous defenders were quickly dispatched by the PCs.  For some reason this battle carried onward into the small hobgoblin infirmary, and Dak (blindly swinging his battle axe) and Uncle Junkal were able to kill the hobgoblin medic and dispatch his two wounded charges without alerting the hobgoblins in the nearby kitchen.

Next, while Hazel, Innominus, and Yor explored a corridor leading south out of the sentry room, Uncle Junkal and Harry the Halfling searched the sentry room for secret doors etc. (Dak was on hand but still blind -- Gorgo and the rock troll stood guard).  The only unusual thing found was a group of strange etchings scratched into the north wall -- no character on hand could read them, but when Hazel returned to the room from the south a bit later, she identified the scrawlings as being an arcane code that listed a numerical calendar date, the word "Mulek," and a mention of something called "the Black Well."

The southern corridor terminated in a floor-to-ceiling bas-relief of a hobgoblinish face with an open mouth -- some careful searching by Hazel and Yor uncovered a secret door inside the mouth.  Beyond was a dark, gloomy room, which Yor entered and searched, only to be instantly attacked by two shadowy, ghost-like figures.  Innominus leaped to Yor's aid, and even Uncle Junkal dashed down the southern passage to assist in the battle.  In fact, the intrepid bard held up the strange mirror he previously pilfered from the death cult's cabin, and while the sight of the mirror did make the shadows flinch, it was ultimately Hazel's and Innominus' combat prowess that laid the two vile spirits low.  In the wake of the battle, the PCs searched the cluttered room, and Yor found a heavy iron strongbox buried under some furniture and rubble.  Then Hazel, Yor, et. al. closed the secret door and returned north to the sentry room.

Once the party was reunited in the sentry room, Harry the halfling, the group's (relatively unskilled) de facto thief was instructed to pick the lock on the strongbox, which he did, only to be pricked by a poison needle trap and instantly killed.  R.I.P., Harry the halfling.

Meanwhile Dak and Yor heard some tapping noises coming from the other side of the west wall of the sentry room.  Yor exchanged brief words with a male voice coming from the other side of the wall; they both spoke in kobold. Yor claimed to be "Mulek" and the anonymous voice told him that "Stanthor perished."

Taking the loot accumulated so far, plus the riches found in the strongbox that cost poor Harry his life -- lots of sp, ep, gp, and gems; a few valuable pieces of jewelry; three potions; and two scrolls containing wards against undead -- the party decided to leave Stonehell and return to the nearby Minochian town of Fortinbras, to regroup, rest, re-provision, and re-equip.  They made the exit from the dungeon and the return trip to Fortinbras without physical incident, though they did see a newly established hobgoblin military camp perched atop the southern ridge of the box canyon that houses the entrance to Stonehell.  But they were able to slip past the hobgoblins unseen and were back at the Drunken Yeti Inn in Fortinbras by the end of the session.

To Be Continued. . .

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