|Yareh Falsong before visiting the Verdant Vault.|
Sneakerly Trull, half-orc thief - Zak Smith
Mozzarella, mangy cur purchased by Sneakerly - NPC
Yareh Falsong, one-armed thief - Sam Mameli
Barnabus Sleet, muscle wizard (think Flex Mentallo) - Maxime Goluchik
Otto One-Eye, 0-level mercenary hired by Barnabus - NPC (first use of the new hireling rules)
Man Rider, hideously mutated goblin paladin of chaos - Jez Gordon
This motley crew opted to explore the first level of the Vaults below the Verdant Scriptorium, an area previously unexplored by any PC. Much of the expedition was spent carefully mapping a series of corridors and doors, looking for secret doors, and examining a strange 'water wall' room. Various party members in various states of intoxication try to explain at various times what exactly they saw, but it is not entirely clear whether the room is full of water or the walls are made of water or what.
Anyway, let's talk about the wolves. Apparently a pack of intelligent and creepy wolves guards the entrance to the dungeon and will bargain with adventurers, trading food for passage further into the level. It is suggested that you avoid their gaze, but no details are offered as to what happens if you don't.
Somewhere just beyond the wolves is a room with a pull rope near a door. Pulling it sounds an unseen gong, summoning orc guards. Apparently the Orcs of the Red Hand control at least part of this level as well. The party was able to trick the orcs so that they only had to fight two orcs warriors instead of a whole band of them. Where the rest of them went is not known.
While searching for secret doors around a suspicious 'hole' in the map, a pair of wandering ghouls showed up. One of them fumbled its first attack and Flair flopped onto the floor in front of the party. Yarseh put her crossbow to the back of its head and killed it gangland execution style. Meanwhile, hero of the beach Barnabus Sleet went all Fist of the North Star on the other and upper cut its head clean off. Not bad for a couple of first level chumps. But they couldn't finish them off before one of them took a big ol' bite out of Otto One-Eye.
Fortunately, Man Rider had some magic healing on him. I don't know where he got this stuff, but he had these monster eyeballs that one could eat for something like d6+3 healing each. Did I mention that Man Rider is a damn weirdo? He started life as a relatively normal goblin, but thanks to his devotion to a Games Workshop style god of chaos, he now looks like this:
|Don't worry, he's on our side! (I think.)|
This will come in handy later when Sneakerly convinces the orc bosses of the level that Man Rider is an emissary from the demon lord Orcagorgon, but I am getting ahead of myself. So Otto is an ordinary light infantry spear dude. He's in a dark and dangerous dungeon. He is not that smart and is easily confused. The poor guy doesn't have a left eye and he pawned his eye-patch months ago for beer money. Now he narrowly escapes death at the jaws of a ghoul. He's lost a lot of blood and is maybe a little faint, when the blue tentacled menace of the team hands him an eyeball. Otto does the obvious thing with it and pops it into his eye socket.
That's not using the medicine as recommended, but I rule that it will heal him. Zak pulls out his copy of Realms of Chaos and Jez rolls on the mutation chart to see what else happens. I say either the result has to be made to work with the situation or else there is no further side effect. The roll is "gain prehensile tail." After some back-and-forth I decide that the mercenary will henceforth be known as Otto of the Prehensile Eye. Not only can he see out of it, but his new monster eye works like a tentacle, he can see around corners with it, etc.
Not long after the party is approaching a set of stairs down, presumably to level 2, when they are attacked by archers in the darkness. And these archers are using buzzsaw arrows.
One of the buzzsaw arrows shears a buttock clean off Man Rider. Thanks, Arduin critical hit charts. Barnabus the Muscle Wizard charges the orc archers and lays into one of them with his mighty fist. Only after punching this orc in the gut does he see that this guy is the orcish equivalent of Bolo Yeung in full Bloodsport badass mode.
Barnubus ducks some vicious chops and strikes, activating his hero halo to cast sleep on the orc archers. They are then slain. For a single round, Orco Yeung versus Flex Mentallo looked like it was going to be the most epic first level encounter I have ever seen. But then it was all over.
There's a lever here, which Man Rider immediately pulls. It drops a pair of portcullises that the orcs should have used to trap the party, but they got excited about the prospect of shooting them and forgot about it. I tend to assume that orcs have stooge level intelligence, merely because it amuses me. Anyway, Man Rider lowering and raising the portcullis creates enough noise to draw the attention of the orc boss in the next room, as well as his cronies.
It's an orc bard, with his pals an orc magic-user and an orc... elf? Okay, here's the first thing. I'm adapting some oldy moldy dungeon levels for this campaign, right? And the basis for this level has an evil human bard, and evil wizard type, and an evil elf as the bosses of the orcs here. In the context of my larger dungeon, this is one of the levels controlled by the Orcs of the Red Hand. There's no reason why 3 non-orcs would be in charge here. So I made them into orcs. This obviously creates the problem of why an orc archer is dressing like Peter Pan, but since when have any of my dungeons made total sense anyway?
So here's the second thing. I know for a fact that Zak hates bards. You would not believe how delighted I was when the party opted to explore the level with an evil orcish bard in it. And then they actually made over to the section of the dungeon the evil bard occupies! So of course there's a big tornado of violence that starts when Sneakerly convinces the locals to pay obeisance to Man Rider, herald of Orcagorgon. The three anomalous orcs are slain. For good measure, Zak smashes the bard's mandolin. Does that make up a tiny bit for the time I killed his PC's dog? I hope so.
Somewhere along the way Man Rider and Yareh put their heads together and decide to transplant Bolo's arm on her body. Man Rider calls upon dark forces and Realms of Chaos is consulted a second time. A few dice throws later Yareh has a beefy orc-arm and a boosted strength score, but her legs have mutated into those of a crow.
The party then loots the treasury of the orc bard and crew, carting off some nice things and four iron trunks full of coins. They also rescue Dale, a human fighter that was a member of Dundermachen's doomed expedition. Dale was being tortured by the bard for information, which was unfortunate for Dale, seeing as how he knows two things: jack and shit.
The party carries their loot and Dale back to the surface, throwing the Bargain Wolves a bag of orc limbs to assure their safe passage back up to the Verdant Scriptorium. It's Miller time.
UPDATE: Man Rider's version of events
ONGOING ROLL OF THE DEAD
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)
|After one expedition to the Verdant Vault.|