Friday, April 13, 2018

Greyhame Mountain Dungeon Expedition 26

Orcs have returned to the caverns of the Glimmervaults ...
the Goblin King and the Lord of Werewolves have renewed their ancient alliance in the dungeons beneath the Howling Tower ...
the secret treasury of the Bronding Kings is said to lie hidden behind the Brokenbrand falls, haunted by enchanting naiads ...
Jaer the Windlord looks down on the world below from the Eyries of the Eagles atop the Greyhame Mountain itself ...
and the Stars themselves are singing an eerie, eldritch song, night after night ...

29 March's roster:
Lead (cleric 4)
Baby-Face (thief 5)
Valor Justice (Elf 1)
Little Bob (travelling-man 4)
Aethelwulf (paladin 4)
Blackleaf (Elf 4)
Koko (woman-ape 2)
and a coterie of hirelings and dogs

To the Howling Tower, to deal with the Goblin King and his meddling with Star-Things!

On the second night out, the characters came across a pair of wolves, unconscious and lying in the woods, with a strange and shimmering silver cord rising from each up into the night sky toward the singing Stars. The party was baffled. Baby-Face suggested that the stars were sucking information out of them, but who knows?

Aethelwulf decided to put one out of its ... misery isn't quite the right word. Still, he slew one with his sword; the silver cord snapped as soon as the body was slain.

After that, Koko attempted to use her ring of animal control on the "surviving" wolf, to no avail; Blackleaf tried to read any thoughts in it with her amulet of ESP, but detected nothing within--not even an animal intelligence. It seemed the bodies were mere shells, alive in the barest sense of the word, and Aethelwulf killed the second one.

Then the party made camp, and I telegraphed that something was coming by asking for a watch schedule. Alas, but I have only just introduced actual encounters that require a watch schedule in the wilderness; I should probably request one as a matter of course when setting out from town.

Anyway, four watches were set over the course of the night, and I rolled the first watch, which Lead and Blackleaf had taken. So as they stayed up to watch over their comrades, Blackleaf suddenly felt as if some kind of insect were crawling over her back--and yet nothing was there!

The invisible thing's attack failed against Blackleaf. Hands attempting to find it failed to touch anything, but the swordpoint of a magic sword carefully pressed into the area around the weird crawling feelings resulted in contact with some kind of invisible presence. Those individuals who were wakened and had magic weapons proceeded to attack the invisible thing; despite penalties to their attacks, they managed to hit the thing and avoid hitting Blackleaf until finally whatever it was seemed to fall off; searching the ground with magical swordpoints finally revealed something on the ground that didn't seem to be moving around. The thing was dead? They couldn't see it or touch to really ascertain ... so they went back to their regular watch schedule.

Nothing further happened.

Arriving on the ridge atop which stands the Howling Tower, fronted by its two pyres of goblin and ogre corpses, the players agreed to enter through the insect tunnels on the north side of the ridge, which lead directly into the first dungeon level and bypass the Tower itself. Lead left his mule Sparkly outside (mules don't fit in the tunnels), guarded by Baby Face's hirelings Thorn and Cadmus.

The party made their way through the first dungeon level seeking for the stairs down to the second level. They encountered what seemed to be a mobile puddle of water as a wandering monster, but easily destroyed the ooze with an overwhelming number of attacks.

Descending to the second dungeon level, the party headed south. They passed through the room that contained the star pool, which has once been seen to contain a Cthulu-ish tentacular horror; but it seemed empty of anything but stars at the moment. Passing to the south, the party found a door that opened into a chamber with three statues in the NE, SE, and SW corners. One was of a beautiful, seductive Elf-maiden, one of Anglamorath the Dragon, and the last of Astora Queen of Stars in full regalia.

Through the eastern door of that chamber, the party found a north-south corridor that they followed south. They ultimately walked into a chamber which was a goblin-barracks containing more than a dozen goblins. A sleep spell incapacitated many, and the others were slaughtered. The party killed two, but tied up four of the sleeping goblins (amusingly, my notes read "sleeping orcs", a Tolkienian slip); questioning those left alive, they learned from the poor creatures that "the Goblin King can be found through the western corridor and down the stair," while "treasure could be found north with the webs and the snakes."

Leaving the goblins behind, the party went west through further corridors. They ran into a party of goblins and one wolf as wandering monsters. My notes are sparse; I believe that what happened was that the goblins were driven back into another room, which contained other goblins. But ultimately, the party encountered a party of goblins including three that seemed less crooked than their fellows, all of whom began casting spells when the party moved to the attack.

One of the goblin magic-users doused the party's lights so that all was darkness. One of them threw a web spell, incapacitating most of the party (I think initiative was simultaneous, though, because I remember dogs and frontline fighters getting into melee); the last of the goblins cast a sleep spell which dropped all the frontline dogs except Panzer, Little Bob's orc mastiff.

A short melee round ensued; meanwhile, for the webbed party, Lead the cleric lit a torch and set the web alight. So it burned up (in one round; in retrospect it takes two rounds in the rules, but whatever), causing 1-6 damage to all those stuck within. This fire damage killed the hirelings Clara and Ilana of Blackleaf, but the rest of the party was thus freed.

Beyond that, the combat was short--one of the goblins got off a second douse lights spell, but the characters lit another torch; and another one managed to get off a mirror image, which allowed him alone to survive the combat. After all the other goblins were slain, this last fellow was finally subdued and tied up. He directed the party to the Goblin King's inverse-tower in return for his life, and also let drop a mention that the captured children were turned into goblins by the King by being spun up in spider-silk; and then he was left behind by the party. Meanwhile, some characters were looting the room--they found a good deal of gold, a magic helm, a magic shield, a potion, a scroll, a bow, and a spear (much of it loot from the dead goblin-magic-users).

Through another short corridor, the party finally opened a door onto a long spiral stair down into the darkness. It seems to lead down to dungeon levels three and four, but our time was short ... behind a door on the landing, Blackleaf detected the thoughts of scared children. The door was forced open, and the party found a group of five scared and emaciated children.

Our time was short, so the party ushered the children out of the dungeon. The only thing of note on the way out was that passing through the room with the three statues, the party found the statues changed into images of horrid hags, and as the party passed through, they were all subjected to a kind of curse.

Nothing else happened on the way back to town. Local high-level cleric Lailith (who won't adventure in Greyhame until the other characters are closer in level) agreed to lift the curses for 1000 gold altogether. And with his share of the wealth, Baby Face paid off the last 1600 gold of his debt to the Thieves' Guild.


Remembrance for the Fallen:
Clara and Ilana (normal women), Marlo and a number of dogs, Gram, Dorcas, Frida, and Johann Haybaler (normal hirelings), Hauka and Wilmerand (weasels), Blade and Boar (boarhounds), Hubert the Peacock and Lysimmachus (normal men), a nameless mastiff, Livy (normal man), Orkie (orc mastiff), Fang (boarhound), Droopy and Snoopy (mastiffs), Dream Destroyer (ghosthound), Arrow (pack dog), Freyja (normal woman), a nameless cur, Hot Dog and Cross (mastiffs), Orion II (lion dog), Bacon (boarhound), Tore (half-orc fighter 1/cleric 1), Jimmy the Snitch (dog), Orion (lion dog), Harambe (man-ape 1)

and for those Enchanted away:
Dol (fyrdman hireling)

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