Thursday, February 24, 2011

Session 28: Vengeance in Stonehell

This session (played 2/7/11) opened with the party -- Innominus (Clr 5), Hazel (Ftr 4 / MU 3), Uncle Junkal (Rodian Bard 4), Dak (Dwf 4), Yor (Dwf 4), and newcomer Jwi (Rodian 3) -- arriving at Stonehell in the wee hours after a couple of relatively inconsequential night encounters with some fleeing Morlocks and some Fortinbras-bound Western Minochian dwarves. Dak wagged his genitals at the former, while Yor befriended the latter group, attempting to cull favor with still more supporters of the regional Dwarves-for-Government movement.

The box canyon containing Stonehell's main entrance was very quiet when the party arrived, and they had no difficulty reaching the dungeon entrance and descending through levels one and two to the "elevator room." Unfortunately, the elevator was on a different floor when they arrived. But the dwarves inspected the mechanisms that drive the elevator up and down, and Yor deduced that there was a big gear he could turn manually to kick-start the elevator's ascent. Using his girdle of giant strength, Yor turned the gear, the elevator fired up, and voila! the group had a means down to the fourth level where the Hobgoblins of the Black Oil operation presumably still were.

Once on the fourth floor, Gark the Dwarf, having been here before, led the party to the main oil harvesting chamber, which lay beyond some very narrow (5' - 6') passages that uncle Junkal's rock troll could not fit through. The Bard left the rock troll guarding the elevator room and the party pressed on. The group reached the entrance to the oil pool cavern, which was obscured by a slight haziness in the musty underground air. Immediately to the right was the entrance to the caverns of the rust-colored rock trolls who had attacked and routed Gark's former party, killing the cleric Stanthor.

Hazel led the way into the oil pool cavern, with Dak, Yor, and Innominus close behind. Upon contact with the hazy cloud in the cavern entrance, Hazel became violently nauseated, as did Innominus. Nevertheless, they pressed on swiftly into the chamber beyond the haze cloud. . .

To find themselves in a large chamber with ten hobgoblins and a cloaked wizard-like figure, apparently expecting them. The party's foes gained the initiative, and the wizard instantly vanished. The hobgoblins drew swords and attacked.

Violent melee combat ensued, highlights of which include Yor's critical battle axe hit which cleaved one hapless hobgoblin in one blow, and a successful critical attack and d30 damage roll by one of the hobgoblins that nearly killed NPC Gorgo.

Gark's companion Korak, a half-orcish Druid, cast Delay Poison on Innominus and got him back on his feet, whilst Hazel made a lucky saving roll and recovered from her sudden illness as well. These two PCs returning to combat improved the party's odds a great deal, but where was that enemy wizard and what was he up to?

Always a woman of action, Hazel decided to simply shoot her longbow toward the general direction in which the wizard was last seen, near a tunnel exit at the back of the cavern. Hazel's player then rolled a natural "20," a critical hit, and chose to roll her nightly d30 for the damage. She rolled a "28" for the damage roll, and the wizard suddenly reappeared, grasping in vain at the arrow through his neck.  He then collapsed, dead, to the cavern floor.

After that, Innominus cast Hold Person on six of the Hobgoblins, and even though four saved, between that and the combat prowess of the other PCs, the hobgoblin contingent was soon defeated. The party left two Hobs alive for questioning, killed the rest, and that is where the session ended.

Notes and Comments on the Session
Wow, it has been many a moon since a single PC action -- Hazel's insanely lucky critical-hit arrow shot -- so floored me and disrupted my plans as a DM. That invisible wizard was on the verge of unleashing HELL upon the PC's when Hazel's critical hit took the poor bastard out. After that, killing the rest of the Hobgoblins was easy work for the party; the battle was effectively over as of the wizard's (untimely from my POV) demise.

Now the PC's just have to look out for those rust-colored rock trolls. . .

Regarding those "inconsequential night encounters" early in the session, I have a "note to self": I need to generate a high-powered random wilderness encounter table for the Minochian mountains. I have been rolling a decent number of random outdoor encounters, but then the creatures I roll to actually have show up are pretty damn anticlimactic, i.e., Morlocks, Dwarves. They add appropriate flavor and all, but dammit, I want some BADASS monsters to attack the frikkin' party once in awhile. It's time to start stacking the deck -- or rather, the random encounter table.

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