Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Greyhame Game Expedition 87
A real-world two-part expedition, but interrupted in-game only by a pause in media res back at the camp outside the dungeon ...
The roster for 25 and 29 March:
with Henry (magic-user), Tal (thief), and Foz (free goblin)
Nigel (16 year old boy-wonder magic-user)
with Zanatos (cleric)
Tomu (dwarf) and Erbin (fighter)
and a small army of hirelings and dogs
At the Black Dragon's Meed Inn & Tavern back in town, a strange party arrives: a goblin, obviously the leader, introduced himself as Drang, his female Elf companion as Stormy, and the chief of his five-ogre entourage as Barduk; the four ogre-servants carried for their goblin-master a chest, obviously heavy, from which Drang counted out several thousand gold for a year's stay at the inn.
He then turned to the adventurers gathered in the tavern common room--Henry and Sten were holding a reunion of old friends with Nigel, Shoopie, and Zanatos--and the goblin Drang offered a further "obscene amount" of gold if these obvious ne'er-do-wells and adventurers would seek out a zone for him, lost of old under the Greyhame Mountain. A treasure map was offered--actually a letter and an account from the chronicles of the Brondings, which together suggested the location of the lost item--and a precise amount was agreed upon.
Thus offered compensation, the party acquired what they needed in town, and then set out for the Greyhame Mountain. Their clues led them into the Glimmervaults, those ancient caverns whose ceilings glimmer in the dark as if with the night's stars. Certain among the party had adventured in the 'Vaults previously (some so long ago as to have been in a previous incarnation of the dungeon, in a previous campaign!). Armed with their own map, they oriented themselves and then struck out into unexplored areas.
The caverns extended for a good way to the south and east; in a certain portion, the cave ceiling seemed to vanish into the night sky, though under constellations strangely distorted; and further on was discovered a great lake of dark waters glittering under stars. Another cave was found filled with a herd of giant pallid cave-locusts, while in one section stone doors were held closed by great iron bars warning with inscriptions of "the pollution of death is barred inside these halls."
While standing on the shore of the dark lake, the party was attacked by huge whited salamanders that swarmed out of the waters like slimy crocodiles; two of the dogs were slain here, but the foul creatures were driven back into the waters by a liberal application of flaming lamp oil. It was about this time that the party elected to return to their camp outside, uncertain of their prospects further in the dungeon without a little extra muscle.
The extra muscle came in the form of Clark, Tomu, and Erbin, whose players joined us on the 29th; and with their reinforcement, the party returned into the darkness.
Under a starry sky, the party discovered a secret cache of treasure in a stone tree; but were surprised from behind by a group of about a dozen corpses shambling toward them, corpses covered in growths of wispy grey mold, whitecap mushrooms, and other fungal growths. These did not turn away from Zanatos' holy symbol and prayers, but Clark was able to cause them to fight each other by the use of his ring of fungus control. But while the party argued as to what to do with the discovered treasure, they were interrupted again from behind by the snuffling and crunching of cave bears enjoying the surprise feast of fungal zombies.
"Yeah, we fucking killed those bears!" Nigel interjects into the midst of this accounting by the carousing characters.
"With the help of my ring of animal control," Shoopie adds; "But you should slow down on that beer, boy."
"Who are you calling boy? I'm a man! I'm sixteen--that's the age of majority!"
"Until you can grow one of these," Shoopie replies, tugging at his beard, "I'm afraid you're no man."
Continuing the account, the party found themselves in a cavern filled with stalagmites and stalactites; fortunately, Clark happened to look behind and witness one of the stalagmites shuffling and shifting just a little closer to the party. Alerting his fellows, he then advanced to investigate, followed cautiously by Sten ... and stepping within range, Clark found himself suddenly faced with an explosion of whipping tendrils from the weird stalagmite. Several latched onto him with glue-like secretions and then Clark found himself being dragged onward into the darkness and the suddenly revealed maw of stony teeth gaping from the stalagmite's side.
So began a desperate battle in the dark; as the party moved to Clark's aid, they found themselves accosted by two others of the stalagmite-horrors, the tendrils of which dragged a number of characters into the threat of crunching maws. Tomu and Erbin were two such caught, while Shoopie and Sten also found themselves struggling against the in-reeling tendrils. Each round in the grip of the tendrils while in melee range, the monsters were able to crush their victims in their jaws, and Erbin faced the swift death of his hireling, and then his own terrible death. Arakh the orc, Nigel's companion from adventure of old, also found death here, and Clark himself was brought low by too many rounds in the stony grip of his foe.
Nigel cast a lightning bolt spell to no effect, but Henry's fireball softened up two of the creatures, while Zanatos' cure spells helped bolster Clark long enough to heal himself further by laying hands on himself. Once the first of the three creatures was slain, though, its body oozing a foul yellow ichor, the party was able to combine efforts, and their various magical strength and swords were able to cut down the last two stony pillars of death.
At this point, much thought was given as to whether to retreat, but the call of sweet lucre proved irresistible, and the party moved deeper into the dungeon. Discovering halls of worked stone, decorated with imagery of Elves dancing under stars and trees of oak and firs, the party entered cautiously and discovered a number of fallen bodies, apparently killed of old by their own hands. These proved, as suspected, to be undead, which arose and drew swords of shadow from the empty scabbards at their sides.
And the danger of encounters with the undead was remembered here under pillars like stone trees, as Nigel and Zanatos both suffered the loss of life energy when struck by the cold shadowed swords. But the undead horrors were finally destroyed ...
At this point, the account is interrupted again as the carousing characters break into old reminiscences. "Yeah, seems like we might have to make another trip to Rix's dungeon, to bathe in the healing waters there," Shoopie declares.
"Rix!" Nigel says. "I still haven't forgiven you all for murdering Rix!"
"Forgiven us for that--what about all the other stuff we've done to you?" Sten pipes up from behind the bar. He has to stand on a barstool to see over the top, while he continuously pours his best stock of wine for himself and proceeds to guzzle it down. "Like when Xanthos paid for your 'lovely' wife to be raised from the dead?"
"Yeah, or when we sold you off to the Goblin King for a night?" Shoopie adds. Grinning evilly from behind his beard, he reaches out making a pinching motion with his fingers. "Beautiful boy!" he adds in a nasally imitation of the Goblin King's crooning.
"I will rip your head off and shit in the hole if you say that again," Nigel responds, totally dead pan, getting his fingers ready to cast fireball.
Anyway, hauling out all the treasure they'd acquired from halls of the dead, the party found themselves obstructed by the appearance of a gang of creatures, black-skinned, gangly-armed, and with greasy white hair. With hooked noses sniffing, they shuffled out of the darkness, ready to rend with outstretched claws.
A short round of combat established for certain the nature of these creatures, as the wounds cut by the adventurers' swords rapidly began to heal. Only Shoopie's sword versus regenerating creatures and Sten's flaming sword caused lasting wounds. But the punishment dished out by the party proved too much for the trolls, lasting or not; and in the end only one of the creatures escaped into the darkness, leaving its fellows on the cavern floor, covered in oil and set fire until burned to death by the characters.
So ended this expedition into the Glimmervaults--wildly successful if the amount of booze bought and drunk on the night of their return is any indication; and yet Drang remains at the inn, not entirely satisfied with the outcome of the expedition ...