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 ...
26 November's roster:
Kord (half-orc fighter 1/cleric 1)
with Freya and Ham (normal hirelings)
and the armored mastiffs Hot Dog and Cross
Only one player showed up for today's session, and so the expedition was short, but surprisingly sweet.
After hiring and outfitting Freya and Ham, the only two mercenaries available for hire; and purchasing a second mastiff; Kord elected, alone, to brave the Howling Tower, of which he heard that it howls no more, and that the upper floors have been mostly looted.
On the last night before arriving at the dungeon, I rolled a nasty wilderness attrition encounter; it was wolves, according to the dice, and the party elected to lose a shield, 12 arrows, an axe, a week of rations, Hot Dog's armor, and still take 3 damage to Ham. Fortunately for Kord, he's an AD&D cleric, not a B/X cleric, and so even at first level he has access to a spell, and so cured Ham of his wounds.
Arriving at the tower the next day, Kord and company find a pyre standing outside the tower (the same pyre found earlier by another expedition); while inspecting this pyre (and finding only ogre- and wolf-sized bones), Freya indicated to Kord that they had company--a pack of eleven wolves came wandering around, sniffing for prey.
Kord bellowed at them; I rolled a morale check in response, and the wolves backed off in a hurry, uncertain what to make of this bellowing half-orc. Nevertheless, they didn't withdraw entirely, just kept their distance, and the party quickly headed for the relative safety of the tower itself.
Once inside, Kord turned north in the first T of the corridor, intending to head for the stairs down to the dungeon. At the first door, though, he heard noise of something canine within that first chamber; opening the door, the party was confronted with a woman in a shaggy grey cloak with three wolves around her feet. She didn't immediately attack, though seemed wary; but when she asked who this intruder was barging into her room, Kord announced that he was an adventurer come to gather loot and rid the place of werewolves.
To which the woman responded, Well then, you have your chance! Howling, she transformed into a large wolf and, with her lupine companions, charged the party. Kord and company backed off into the hall to constrain their opponents; the woman-wolf went straight for Kord; and fortunately he had earlier purchased a large silver mace, which now he wielded to good effect, while his hirelings and dogs fended off the wolves.
Many shields were broken, and the combat seemed to be going poorly for Kord until one of his dogs critically hit and killed a wolf; and then Kord, after whittling the woman-wolf down in health, got a final solid blow on her, braining her with his mace. As she fell back dead, her body transformed back into a human body, leaking brains across the floor. On her corpse, Kord found a gold serpent torc, and a key; and inside the chamber, he and his companions discovered a chest hidden under some furs, inside of which was some couple thousand silver pieces, as well as three books of deed-songs that were ultimately worth a fine bit of cash.
Kord magnanimously shared this wealth with his hirelings, and then suggested they all head back to town to reequip, which offer was heartily agreed to--but the large pack of wolves still lurked outside the dungeon.
The party then considered the dangerous proposition of camping within the dungeon, but were dissuaded from that course of action by the arrival of a party of goblins and wolves on a wandering monster check. Once more engaged in the hallway, already slick with the blood of wolves, the party faced stiffer odds--both Hot Dog and Cross were slain, one by a critical hit from a wolf, the other from a critical hit by a goblin. Fortunately for the party, though, goblins are creatures of poor morale, and after about half their number were slain, they rolled badly, panicked, and fled back the way they had come.
Dogs dead and Kord and Ham both injured, the party made a hasty retreat to the entrance of the tower. Kord bellowed at the wolves again, and the few that remained without sauntered away. Alas for the party, it turned out they hadn't gone far--that night on the way back, they were again attacked by wolves, and now lost 12 arrows, a shield, Ham's suit of plate armor, a week of rations, and 4 more damage to Ham (healed, again, by Kord).
Returning to town, the party members outfitted themselves again, but Kord found himself feeling strangely ill, with an excessive amount of hair growth on the backs of his hands and arms, and with a curious craving for raw meat. Guessing the nature of this malady, he went to Lailith at the Shrine of St. Ursula for a cure disease spell, and for 100 gp was cured.
Lastly, Frey and Ham elected to carouse with their newfound wealth (Kord was more than generous with them, essentially giving each several hundred gold, and I decided to allow them to receive xp, and to advance toward the possibility of rising up from being mere 0 level normal men). Freya had a distressing religious experience as a result of drink, and will not earn xp on her next expedition, but Ham held his liquor well ... and as for Kord, even giving his wealth away, he retained enough xp to level up both of his classes.
As I said, it was short, but sweet
Remembrance for the Fallen
Hot Dog (mastiff), Cross (mastiff), Orion II (lion dog), Bacon (boar hound), Tore (half-orc fighter 1/cleric 1), Jimmy the Snitch (dog), Orion (lion dog), Harambe (man-ape 1)
Dol (fyrdman hireling)