Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Greyhame Mountain Dungeon Expedition 1

Orcs have returned to the caverns of the Glimmervaults;
The Goblin King and the Lord of Werewolves have renewed their ancient alliance beneath the Howling Tower;
and the secret treasury of the ancient Bronding Kings is said to lie somewhere behind the Brokenbrand Falls, haunted by enchanting naiads.

These four rookies heard the rumors and decided to see if they were brave enough to win gold and glory from the dungeons under the Greyhame Mountain:

Unga Dunga (halfling 1, mediocre in every attribute except a low charisma)
Lead (cleric 1, chaotic and good; and that's "lead" like "he leads", not the base metal)
Baby Face (thief 1, a strapping fellow who rolled 4 hp +1 for a total of 5)
Valor Justice (Elf 1, chaotic, in a very true sense)
and Sparkly the Mule (a mule, played on the table by a sparkly d12; the party kept my name)

After equipping themselves, the foolhardy four debated which rumor to follow for the best return, and settled on the Brokenbrand Falls, in part because of the "secret treasury" and also because they wanted to see the naiad river-babes.

The journey to Greyhame (the mountain under which these complexes lie) was a mere three days without incident, and the four found themselves at the base of a cliff, cleft into two east-facing promontories by the action of the falls over aeons. A great pool of water, sixty feet across, lay at the foot of the cliffs, the falls pouring into it some way back. On the south side a narrow stair, slick with moss and mist, was carved into the cliff-face, leading up west to a stone platform and a door. The climb up the stairs is treacherous, but everyone rolled above the threshold to fall.

From the platform, they could see another platform on the north side with another door into the south cliffs, with an even more treacherous path leading up to it, but after hearing that the chasm was 60' wide, they abandoned plans to rope across and turned the to the door before them. It led into a great hall with a statue of Brondr, the first King of the Brondings (semi-barbarian tribes that conquered their way south). The statue had residue of something green and slimey, but otherwise the room was empty.

A door on the east side of this hall opened into a kind of throne room with east-facing windows carved through the cliff. Three tapestries hung within, worn with age but possibly worth something. And, sitting on the throne, Valor heard a creaking beneath himself. Baby Face inspected it and found the seat opened to a secret compartment with a chest. Because first level thieves suck at everything, Baby Face failed to find the trap or pick the lock, but did manage to prick his finger with the poison needle--but did made his save against poison. After that, Valor forced the lock, finding inside a gold circlet and a vial.

Before anyone could stop him, Unga Dunga drank down the contents of the flask, and immediately his travel-worn and blistered feet felt better, as did the aches in his joints. But otherwise the potion of healing couldn't heal Unga Dunga's full hit points.

Continuing on, now westward, the party entered into a series of interconnected chambers with columns, and were immediately surprised by a green slime that dropped itself onto Lead, the cleric. The desperate fight against the green slime that followed--desperate despite automatic hits!--was the highlight for my evening.

First Valor, wielding the party's torch, struck the slime and did half damage to the slime, and half to Lead. Meanwhile, Lead continued to pry at his armor, but not fast enough. Baby Face considered shooting the slime with his bow, but opted instead to help Lead shuck his plate armor. With the armor off, the slime was on the floor, while Lead had slime bits still burning his flesh. Running from the slime as it tried to cling to his boots, Lead went to Unga Dunga and received another point of damage as the halfling cauterized the slime-wound. There then ensued several rounds of the slime attempting to cling to another character while the party did measly 1 damage here or there with their torches, or beat at it ineffectively with various weaponry. Finally, with three characters thrashing it with torches, the green slime discorporated. Lead found his armor wearable, but 1 AC worse, and continued the adventure with slime-burned armor and boots.

Shunning a second colony of green slime further west, the party entered a south door and looted an old guard post with sunlight shining in through an arrowloop on the eastern cliff face. But as they entered the next room west, I finally rolled a wandering monster, and the party found itself face-to-face with slow shambling zombies sprouting fungus. Lead's attempt to turn did nothing (they're not undead ...), so the party moved in with swords. Given how slow they are, the zombies always act last, but still managed to roll a critical against both Valor and Unga Dunga. I use the "Shields Shall be Splintered" rule in my games, so both the Elf and halfling broke their shields rather than take the damage (and fortunately, Valor had looted the single usable shield from the guard post as an extra).

Beyond that, they made short work of the zombies. Inspecting the room, the party found it seemingly an antechamber, with a bas-relief of a knight slaying a dragon on the wall (image of the lawful god Sabazios, but the whole party being chaotic, they didn't know)--and I, reexamining my key, remembered the grey ooze lurking in the corner. As it started to move toward the party, they hurled one of the re-dead bodies at it, and while it "fed", they fled.

A few rooms later, the party emerged into a huge hall filled with the roaring of the falls. They stood on a kind of raised platform with an idol of the River God (dude with a beard that becomes a river) surrounded by his naiad-daughters, wearing a fleece flecked with gold. Valor took the fleece; nothing happened, so they continued onward.

The hall below opens ultimately into a cave-section with a great pool from which the great falls drop into the pool at the cliffs' foot. Stalactite-stalagmite columns here are carved to resemble trees, and the branches bear jeweled fruit that, when plucked, become real, fleshy apple-type fruit. Baby Face elected to eat his pick, and immediately fell into a deep sleep. To wake him, Valor threw the thief into the water--but the thief wakened not, instead sinking and being carried by the current toward the falls.

As the party frantically tried to figure out how to save him, I rolled on the "what's in this pool?" key and the result is 2-12 naiads. I roll their reactions, and they like Baby Face. Six naked and beautiful Elf-women emerge from the pool with Baby Face in tow and ask if he belongs to the party? "If so, we want to keep him, unless you can give us something better." (also, the naiads commanded the return of the fleece to their river-idol).


Lots of haggling and wondering ensued. The naiads ultimately offered a bargan--"Either bring us another strapping young lad, or get rid of the nasty troll that lives in a cave to the north, and we'll return this fellow to you." The party elected for the troll, and the naiads showed the party where an old canoe was moored for use on the pools inside the cave, and took them to the troll's cave.

Turns out the troll was a trogre (if a gnoll is a cross between a gnome and a troll, you can guess what a trogre is), a little smaller, a little bit less regenerative, with only two attacks. By luck, the party managed to surprise it; and, because Valor had cast shield on himself so his AC was -2, and the trogre randomly selected Valor to kill (1-2 attacks Lead, 3-4 Valor, 5-6 Unga Dunga, and I roll a 3), and because they rolled a lot of hits on him fast, the party ganked the trogre before he could do any damage (got the night's second critical hit on Valor, but he broke his second shield!).

The trogre's trove was a lot of weird semi-valuable crap rolled with the ACKS treasure tables (e.g. 2 crates of pottery, several barrels of beer, 3 bolts of cloth and 15 bolts of garishly dyed cloth) along with some thousands of copper and silver. While Baby Face went around collecting what seemed valuable, Lead chopped up the cloth, covered the slowly regenerating body of the trogre, and set the whole sorry mess on fire. It slow-burned with a reeking greasy black smoke, but at last, the trogre was no more.

There followed a solid half hour of "negotiating" the division of the treasure, with Baby Face trying to retain a majority share, while Valor declared, "this isn't a negotiation, it's a shakedown--give us the money." At last, with the sword of Damocles (or Valor, rather) hanging over his head, Baby Face gave in and split the coin equally. I rolled several wandering monster checks to see if the bats in the cave above were home, but alas, nothing (seriously, it was like thirty minutes, I rolled every ten).

Freed by this deed to flee from the naiads, the party traipsed their way back through the way they'd come, slipping by the grey ooze with a lucky open doors roll before it could react .

But they still had to climb down the stair, and Lead rolled a 1. Down into the pool below he went, taking a mere 1 damage from rocks, but otherwise sinking quickly in his plate armor. Attempts to help by the party failed, but Lead managed to survive by rolling a swim check, despite his armor.

At long last, the party returned to town (that is, Brakeridge); I suggested carousing, per the rules I lifted from Jeff Rients (though with my own slightly rewritten mishaps table). Lead and Valor made their saves, though Lead spent himself back down to 10 gp by blowing 600 gp on booze and hookers. Meanwhile, Unga Dunga made his save against poison to avoid VD from his own whoring; and Baby Face drunkenly insulted some fop who turned out to be the son of Morholt--and Morholt is the local strongman lord, a chaotic usurper. Naturally, this means Vendetta between Baby Face and Morholt's clan--and hopefully we'll find out more in future games.


Theoretically, I'm going to find a place downtown here in Moscow (Idaho, where the University of Idaho is) to run this game once or twice a month as a walk-in game for those who show up and want to play. The guys who played tonight I actually know, so it wasn't really pick-up tonight; but they did express interest in playing again, so I hope we can continue their adventures, and perhaps even include a roster of rotating cast-members.


  1. Sounds like a fun time! Love the naiad encounter!

    1. Thanks! I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to run, and how much the players got into it, despite them not really being D&D players.