Friday, April 5, 2019

Greyhame Game Expedition 88

Following up on their re-explorations of the Howling Tower dungeons during expedition 86, the party attempts to clear goblins, wolves, and werewolves from the first level, discovers a mysterious stair down, and on the second level of the dungeon, claimed the treasure previously barred to them on the belly of the black dragon statue ...

28 March's roster:
Koko (woman-ape)
Clark (would-be paladin)
Lucky-Bob (travelling man)
Blackleaf, Merlin, and Mizer (magic-users)
Coball, Thaddeus, and Rolf Rolfson (clerics)
and Tiwo (Getae thief)

Before setting out once more for the dungeon-complex under the Greyhame Mountain, some rumor-mongering: First, the party hears about the appearance in town of Drang the goblin, his Elfin associate Stormy, and their entourage of ogre-servants. These individuals have taken up semi-permanent rooms at the Black Dragon's Mede, a local inn-and-tavern, and seem to be in the business of offering adventure hooks ... except that at this moment, another group of adventurers had earlier snapped up the hook and were off gallivanting in seek of it. Perhaps next week something will be available ...

Second, also currently at the Mede is one Xanthos, master-thief extraordinaire, magic-user unparalleled, and leader of the Cult of the Black Dragon. This Xanthos is a long-time dungeon-companion of Clark from of old, and the party agrees to pay him 1000 gp for information about the statue discovered in the dungeon last time, at a hint from Clark ... and lo, the dark-cloaked, dragonfire-scarred fellow explains, "That is an image of Anglamorath the Black, the Dragon of Night; she is the dark between the stars, and when the Rainbow bridge is thrown down, her wings will overshadow the world, and she will come again in power and glory and her enemies will fall before her, and her worshipers will glory in her vengeance. So--who wants to join the Cult?"

Tiwo agreed to offer allegiance to Anglamorath, and in return, Xanthos taught him certain secret words and countersigns that would allow him to retrieve the treasure from the statue.

Lastly, rumors run through town of a "lost" expedition in the west, in which the half-Elf Cairn died of strange light, the ogre Torg met an unpleasant end digested in the belly of a monster, while their comrade JH barely escaped from the dungeon, bearing the body of Tarn, who had succumbed and drowned from the kiss of a nymph.

To the dungeon!

Descending into the Howling Tower dungeon by the secret insect-tunnels, Clark was leading, and he ran into three insectile horrors gathered in the central part of the tunnels--two of the horrors caught in the midst of copulating while the third waited on the side. In the short melee that followed, Clark was paralyzed by the poisonous tentacles of one, but the horrors were swiftly dispatched by a pile-on of dogs and spear-wielding Mizer (who learned the use of the spear through certain ancient rituals taught him while apprenticed to an ancient and powerful magic-user).

The party then dragged Clark into the dungeon and debated whether to carry him along or wait for him to be freed of the rigor of paralysis. Fortunately, the effect wore off even while they argued, and the expedition was able to continue in good time.

Guided to the door wherein they were surprised by a large group of goblins and wolves on a former expedition (#85, I'm not writing it now, sorry), the party argued as to whether to split up for a pincer-attack or not. Lucky Bob and co. argued "not" and as the rest of the party acquiesced, they turned to burst in the door to surprise whatever lay beyond.

Behind the door lay a large chamber, filled with goblins, wolves, goblin-detritus, and a few low fires for rat-cooking. Blackleaf and Merlin each got off a spell of sleep before the goblins could do anything, knocking out almost all of the goblins and even a few wolves. What followed was a chaotic melee as Clark, Koko and Thaddeus advanced to attack with swords and maces. The few remaining goblins attempted to get off their own magic, but while two managed to magically douse the party's torches, the other two were struck and had their spells fizzled.

The wolves then joined the melee, and it soon became evident that they were not mere wolves. But the party was well-equipped with magic and silver weapons and had no trouble dealing damage to the werewolves, though the creatures were not easily dispatched because of high hp rolls. Midway through the combat, the remaining goblin-leaders broke and fled, earning opprobrium from their wolfish companions, but the party allowed them to flee. Several rounds later, the final werewolf (of five) dropped its head and in Common growled, "Spare me! Mercy!"

Mercy was granted by the predominantly Good party; pumping their new captive for information, they learned his name, Vitrig, learned that the goblins and wolves still largely dominate this first dungeon level, and rediscovered the wolf-and-goblin altar in a secret room, covered anew with offerings of silver and gems. Tying Vitrig up, the party continued on their way to explore more of the first dungeon level.

Exploring the eastern boundaries, the party opened several empty tombs, and then finally a chamber seemingly guarded by two silver statues in the form of Elfin maiden-warriors. There were further doors leading from the chamber, but when the statues uttered a hollow challenge in Chaotic--one dissimilar to the countersigns taught to Tiwo by Xanthos--the party elected to withdraw rather than risk fighting golems.

Continuing exploration, the party entered a large hall with several pillars, and surprised about a dozen bizarre creatures clustered around one of the pillars ... Another sleep spell dropped a few of the creatures, but that led to battle as they turned to deal with the intruding adventurers. And so the party came face to face with strange things, goblin in shape, but with four long gangling arms from either shoulder, two vestigial arms from their chests, plates of black exoskeleton covering parts of their bodies, and two huge black multi-faceted eyes staring out from over mouths drooling and gaping around large fanged mandibles--spider-goblin-things!

Because of a good initiative roll and use of a web spell to immobilize half of the creatures remaining awake, and then a fireball spell that wiped out the webbed and sleeping creatures, the encounter passed quickly with the party triumphing. It was discovered that the creatures were, with their own webs, tying up the deceased body of an Elf-woman to the central pillar, whom Lucky Bob elected to take up and carry out of the dungeon to be raised from the dead.

About to turn back and return to town, the party was recalled to the lure of treasure by Blackleaf and Koko--to come all this way and forget about the treasure-laden dragon statue? Goaded on by this reminder, the party quickly found their way to the stair down to the second level. There, an encounter with wolves was avoided, and then the party found themselves in the great gallery before the shining black statue of Anglamorath.

Tiwo gave the countersigns and demanded in Chaotic that the dragon relinquish her treasure; then going up, he attempted to prize off the gems on the belly ... and nothing happened. Working quickly, and with the help of the Chaotic followers of Kord, Thaddeus, Coball, and Merlin, the party managed to prize off some two dozen gems and thousands of gold and silver coins. Fortunately, they had brought enough sacks into the dungeon in which to stuff all this treasure, and so they were able to haul all of it out, fireballing another small pack of wolves on their quick-march back to the surface.

Returning to town, only Clark and Mizer elected to carouse, and thus is word of their deeds and rewards spread throughout town.

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