RosterPersimion Finch, human fighter (Galen Fogarty)
Jonesy, 0-level mercenary (NPC hireling)
Brax of the Lortmils, savage human fighter (Brad Black)
Little Liam Linkboy, 0-level torchbearer (NPC hireling)
Dundermachen, dwarf, (Jeff Call)
Adam o' the Dung Heap, human fighter (NPC hireling)
Hilda Haggins, halfling thief (Reece Carter)
Jesus Christ, riding mastiff (NPC doggie)
Persimion Finch, Brax the Savage, Dundermachen the Dwarf, and their attendant hirelings decide to begin their expedition via the Citrine Halls. The somno-musicologists and arcane craftsmen of the Citrine Hall are working on assembling the Golden Wind Guitar, a titanic instrument that, when completed, should allow the wind itself to playing some shredding riffs. At least that's what it is supposed to do.
|I had no idea that the Big Golden Guitar was an actual thing.|
I just rolled the result using a 3 column chart.
Now, there are only 3 orc gamers here and 5 party members (I don't count Little Liam, because he's a pitiful Dickensian street urchin, He's not gonna attack an orc). Theoretically, the party should be able to take these guys. But in round one the good guys roll attacks mostly in the single digits and the orcs score two natural twenties. Brax has a major artery torn open in his leg and is splattering the room with blood, while Persimion has his throat slit. Both have mere rounds until they bleed out. They manage to defeat the orcish game nerds and shuffle back up the stairs to get emergency medical treatment in the nick of time. Both PCs now sport hideous scars. Thanks the the ugly arc of scar tissue around his neck, I declare that Persimion Finch will henceforth be known to the inhabitants of Vyzor Castle as Persimion of the Second Smile.
It's at this point, after the two fighters have healed up, that the party decides to try a different way into the Vaults. Having heard that the Verdant Vaults are guarded by weird wolves that will trade safe passage for food, they acquire dubious meat and prepare to descend with the entrance in the back cell of the Verdant Scriptorium. It is at this point that the party is joined by Hilda Haggins, halfling thief, and her riding mastiff, Jesus Christ. This continues the trend of dogs with ridiculous names visiting my dungeons.
Hilda is a 5e PC and fifth level to boot, so she sorta ran roughshod over my monsters a couple of times. I don't mind this as a one-shot. FLAILSNAILS characters are all over the map power-wise and I consider their ability to surprise me a feature rather than a bug. Still, if Hilda or another later edition character appeared again in my dungeon, I'll be more likely to adjust power levels on the fly. For example, I allowed Hilda to use the 5e rogue Sneak Attack rules, when I probably should have simply let her make a backstab using the BX guidelines. I'm not harshing on 5e or the player here, it just wasn't an ideal fit for my local situation, you dig?
Anyhoo, on this second trip into the dungeons the party ends up covering some of the same ground as last week's group. They negotiate passage with the wolves, fresh cow(?) meat now to get in, some orc meat to get out. They then pull the alarm rope that summons the orc guards to the adjacent chamber.
The battle with these guys is one of the highlights of the session, as they are able to use the dungeon layout and some oil to minimize meleeing with eight orc guards, but they still fight them full on. (The last party used trickery to end up only fighting 2 guards.) This was a really juicy fight, but probably my favorite two moments were these: The leader of the orcs was this badass with a battleaxe and a cool helmet who had the ability to catch and counterattack thrown weapons. Coincidentally, this party had no bows or crossbows, only thrown melee attacks. So I got to try to murder the PCs with their own weapons a couple of times. Then there was the supremely awesome moment when Dundermachen leapt over a pool of flaming oil--his own warhammer also alight with flames--and landed right in front of this orc leader guy. He then proceeded to absolutely crush the dude's cajones with a mighty flaming hammer blow to the crotch.
The party defeat the orcs and backtrack to their barracks. Careful searching reveal two things. The first is an orcish cookie jar, which actually contains a little treasure but also an angry scorpion. Fortunately, Hilda opened the cookie jar and she's immune to poison thanks to a previous adventure. The other item of note is a secret door that leads to the orcish training room, where they witness a grizzled one-eyed orc with a whip instructing maybe a dozen new recruits. He's got straw dummies of a human, an elf, a dwarf, and a halfling, each marked with red paint indicating vulnerable areas. The orcs don't immediately notice the party, so our brave heroes quietly close the door and seek adventure elsewhere.
|Alright, maggots! I'm going to show you how to kill PCs!|
Speaking of secret doors and whatnot, Dundermachen caroused after this expedition and has been proudly showing off his map of the 1st level of the Verdant Vault to a bunch of people in and around Castle Vyzor. Dig it:
|Brax actually made this map.|
How the dwarf ended up with it is anybody's guess.
Exiting the barracks and returning to the big east-west corridor, they decide to scope out the dead end to the north after the turn. They successfully find a secret door back to the first room of the level. This is when a wandering monster finally shows up. Yay! It's a swarm of giant (1' long) killer bees! Had they not found the secret door, the party would now be trapped in a dead end. But here's the kicker: they forgot up until this point to collect some orc meat to placate the wolves and guarantee a safe return to the surface! This results in a brief but chaotic combat where the PCs fight bees and wolves in and around the secret door, but the wolves and bees also end up fighting each other. All sides take casualties: Jonesy and Little Liam succumb to deadly bee stings, but some wolves and bees go down as well. The party spot a brief opening in the wolf formation and high-tail it out of the dungeon, leaving the insects and canines to fight among themselves. Wild carousing follows.
ONGOING ROLL OF THE DEAD
Jonesy (0-level NPC)
Little Liam Linkboy (0-level NPC)
Limpy the Naileteer (Jeff Call)Engsal the Enchanter (Alex Joneth)
Elfbraham Lincoln (Jeff Call)
Littlens (0-level NPC)
Biggens (0-level NPC)
Stimpy (0-level NPC)
Ren (0-level NPC)