Dwimmer Deep

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Introduction

I've never posted a story hour before. But I've been keeping a log for our home game for a bit more than 10 months now, it's been a fun campaign to date, and I figure it might be enjoyable to post it here.

Many here will recognize that the name of the campaign, "Dwimmer Deep", is rather similar to the "Dwimmermount" game by Autarch and James Maliszewski. The only similarity here is I liked the "Dwimmer" part of the name, and borrowed that. I've never read the Dwimmermount adventure, though perhaps I will some day.

I created this game with a few goals in mind. 1) To playtest the 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons rules (we went through most of the playtest docs, simply shifting characters as things changed); 2) To get a regular online game going to replace our in-person game that had lapsed due to people moving (we use Roll20); 3) To allow for flexibility in players coming and going (minimum 3 players for a session, maximum 6); 4) To create a somewhat sandbox mega dungeon on my own (something I had not attempted before); 5) to see if 5e D&D could hearken back to some old school dungeon crawl experiences I used to enjoy; 6) to create that dungeon as I go, rather than all in advance.

That last point was pretty important to me. In the past I felt the need to be over prepared for whatever the players do. But, my life has changed since those days, and I have a child and a lot more work responsibility. I had seen great GMs wing-it on gaming several times in my life, and I wanted to finally take the plunge and let the game go where it may, and work on making it "seem" planned while really being mostly spontaneous on my part as the DM. I am thankful to say that's been a success, and it's made DM'ing an even more enjoyable experience for me, and I think my players as well.

Most of the adventure is original, but on occasion I would borrow things from other adventures. There's a bit from two of the most recent (as of this writing) 5e adventures in there, recognizable I am sure to those familiar with those works.

As we are playing on Roll20, I've made use of some rather colorful maps most of the time. The theme of the Dwimmer Deep is that a Mad Wizard is teleporting in sections of dungeons, and their occupants, from elsewhere around the world (how he is doing that is part of the mystery to be unveiled during the campaign). This gives me the flexibility of simply grabbing whatever I find interesting as I go and inserting it into the game. I don't need a good explanation for why Drow are living next to Orcs that are living next to Medusa living next to Lizardmen, or why their lairs all look so different. They were all brought there against their wills suddenly and at different times, agreed to become residents or risk not having access to food and water (which the Dungeon, which is effectively alive, would cut off for them if they did not agree to become residents and thus be trapped within the dungeon), and are looking for a way out themselves while often fighting their neighbors.

When I have the time and inclination, I hope to insert some screenshots of what the players were seeing at the time. The monsters won't be there - once killed I delete them from the map. But at least you can see some of the map areas, which are often nice looking thanks to the hard work of others who uploaded them to the web at different times allowing me to grab them for use in this game.
 
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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Backstory

You currently reside in the town of East Gantrick, a free city nestled beside a forested mountain range. While a majority of residents are human, all races are welcome, provided they don't make trouble for others.

Rumor is that in ages past, East Gantrick was ruled by a ruthless mad king from some crazy skull-fortress in the mountains. He was defeated, his stronghold sealed up, and peace reigned (or at least, that's the rumors you've always heard). These days, the town is ruled by a peaceful council and priesthood that is corrupt, but otherwise not too bad.

You're poor. Damn poor. You have enough to afford some daily gruel to eat, and a (leaky) roof over your head, but not a much else. Maybe you were born that way, and maybe it's just a matter of bad luck and circumstance that brings you to this moment.

You've gotten to the point where you're pretty desperate for some money. Maybe your family-member needs money to pay a cleric to heal a disease. Maybe you owe some nasty guys for a gambling debt. Maybe you need to impress a potential spouse with wealth. Perhaps you're a hedge wizard who accidentally blew up a building and needs to pay recompense or go to prison. Maybe you just want a better life. But whatever the reason, you've gotten to the point where you're willing to take some major risks, and hope it pays off with gold.

Recently, some pretty incredible events happened in East Gantrick that might just provide the opportunity you're looking for!

Turns out, that ancient mad-king's skull-fortress is sealed no longer. Some other desperate souls out foraging went and checked it out, and finding it open they ventured inside. A few of them managed to come back (fewer than left to begin with) with bags of ancient coins, and stories of monsters and traps and mazes of underground tunnels and rooms.

Word got out pretty fast (which tends to happen when peasants start spending gold like it's going out of style), and some professional adventurers headed out to explore, followed by some amateurs, and then some more amateurs. Some of the professionals came back alive, but most of the amateurs didn't. Those that returned told similar stories of wealth, and danger.

Enterprising locals figured it was about time to get some organization going. They started an adventuring guild, and invited interested folks to apply. It's free to join, and only costs 10% of any treasure you recover. Members receive the following benefits:

1) The use of some basic adventuring equipment;

2) Rumors, news, and potentially maps from fellow members;

3) Escort to and from the old fortress mountain;

4) In the event of the death of a member or members, the Guild will send one group to recover your body, returning the basic adventuring equipment back to the Guild (along with the 10% share of treasure), and your remaining possessions to your family/next of kin.

5) Opportunities for the occasional Guild-sponsored mission, which comes with a separate additional payment.

6) For more advanced members, opportunities to buy and sell in the Guild market.

You signed up at first light, along with a bunch of others, and they accepted your application! Some fellow members you recognize, others not. During the outfitting process and basic instruction, you got to know a few people, and they seem all right to you.

They also gave you a strange necklace, with the symbol of the Guild on it. They told you to never take the necklace off, as it's used to magically find you should you get lost, trapped or ... worse.

You've been assigned an adventuring group. Maybe you're friends with some of them, maybe you're just getting to know them now. But, you've got your basic adventuring equipment, and it's just about time to get on the wagon coach running out to Skull-Mountain.

Off to adventure!

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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
The Characters

I don't have the backstories for most of the characters. Some was done in emails prior to the game, some was done verbally. I do have at least a couple written out, which I will post below. I will see if I can gather more at another time and edit this entry then. I put in a short entry for most. There is also a bit in the first adventure entry, below this post.

Hollin: Human Fighter (Noah)
Milo Wigglesworth: Halfling Wizard (John)
Slink: Half-elf Thief (Matt A - Slink was originally an NPC buy Matt A took him over in session 2 I think)
Father Rivers: Human Cleric (Max - who joins a bit later taking over this character that was initially an NPC)
Bear: Bugbear Ranger (Jason)
Luther: Bugbear Fighter (Matt B - though he quits the game shortly thereafter due to life issues, and Luther becomes an NPC usually run by Jason)

DM Note: Bugbears are not normally a playable race, but the players really wanted this pair for the game. So I too the half-orc write-up, tweaked it with the Bugbear bestiary, and came up with a race that I think is pretty well on-par with the Half-orc.

Meet Luthur.

Luthur was the juvenile orphan-survivor of some more-or-less random, unrecorded confrontation between bugbears (or the bugbears' masters?) and drow. He was initially given to the drow gladiatorial-industrial comlex as arena-fodder, but he survived several matches and eventually became a crowd favorite. So the drow started to actively train Luthur and put him in real, competitive contests. He continued to survive for several character levels.

But the thing that set Luthur apart was the fact that he was taken slave while he was still a "cub," meaning he was still in the developmental critical period when bugbears bond to their social groups through olfactory cues. Being thrown in with humanoid captives (humans, elves, dwarves, et al.), he bonded to them by scent, rather than to his "fellow" bugbears. Furthermore, one of the first humanoids to be kind and compassionate with Luthur was a captive cleric of one of the good gods (Pelor?).

As a result of these influences, Luthur became instinctively attached to "fellow" humanoid gladiator-slaves and fought fiercely on their behalfs in the arenas. This amused the drow arena-audience, who enjoyed watching him competently defend humanoids against aberrant, beastly, and other conspicuously non-humanoid arena-foes.

One day there was an epic confrontation between some high-level PCs and the drow of the particular Underdark region where Luthur was enslaved—and the drow lost. Arena-slaves were triaged as to whether they were friendly, slay-on-the-spot-worthy, or of uncertain moral character. Luthur was initially one of these "on the fence" prisoners, and was eventually identified as being positively disposed toward humanoid PCs in the service of Good. So Luthur was set "free"—in fact, he was put in touch with a network of good-affiliated PCs who could guide him (cuz let's face it, he takes orders well but he's pretty dumb) on a righteous path.

This is how I initially conceived Luthur finding his way into an adventuring party. My initial idea was to have Luthur travel with the divine party member wearing what appears to be divine shackles or restraints with a glowing glyph of the Good god's insignia emblazoned on the chestpiece. Thus, as he travels around with his "master," he plays along in pretending to be a shackled, divinely-mind-controlled servant of his divine-classed colleague. The idea was that this subterfuge would get the adventuring party smoothly through most soical encounters in which having a hulking member of a goblinoid sub-race present would otherwise cause panic or alarm.

DM Note: To tweak it to match this new campaign, I am open to suggestions but here are my initial thoughts. Since all the PCs are presumed to be pretty dirt poor and desperate enough to risk venturing into a nasty dungeon, that part matches well with this back story. As for existing higher level cleric that both Luther and Bear are "attached" to, guiding him on a better path, that I think could work as follows:

From the existing campaign back story: "...some professional adventurers headed out to explore [Dwimmer Deep], followed by some amateurs, and then some more amateurs. Some of the professionals came back alive, but most of the amateurs didn't. Those that returned told similar stories of wealth, and danger. Enterprising locals figured it was about time to get some organization going. They started an adventuring guild, and invited interested folks to apply..."

So since the dungeon, Dwimmer Deep, has already been initially explored by some professional adventurers, we'll call one of those adventurers The Cleric. I'd be fine saying that the higher-level Cleric is one of the higher-up leaders of the Adventurer's Guild (one of the enterprising locals, who was also a member of the initial professional adventuring party).

This would give the party a contact with the Guild, and also work with the backstory.

So, "High Level Cleric" (we will need a name for him) found Luther and Bear in a Drow city at some other location, brought them back out, travelled with them to East Gantrick town, dropped them off with the local temple in town temporarily while The Cleric adventured in Dwimmer Deep for a short while, and then The Cleric helped found the new Adventurer's Guild and brought Bear and Luther into the Guild as new members.

_____

Bear

The easiest way would be to turn all of the above references to "Luthur" into references to Luthur and Jason's tribe-mate, age-mate character. Perhaps the tribe-mates were separated upon capture, Jason's character having been given over to training as "hunting dogs" to some bad-ass clique of drow ranger-scouts. This would provide a plausible reason for Jason's charatcer to get ranger training rather than arena-fighter training (Needless to say, his Ranger's nature skill would be Dungeoneering rather than Nature).

---

Bear, a Marauder Ranger. Rolling Bear into Luther's backstory it would seem to work just fine, with perhaps a slight twist on the turning-point: say his hunting party was massacred by some gnarly Otherling on a rare outing to the surface; Bear played all-dead (easy, as he was mostly-dead) and was rescued on the brink of extinction by... that same captive cleric of Pelor, having escaped in the confusion of the raid, or perhaps by the same party that executed the raid on their way back to tavern.

If we can get these two to synergize in an effective way, I think this is a capital way to proceed.

---

Slink

Slink is a bit mysterious. He was a thief by profession, but then something happened to him, which he does not talk about much. He became smarter, and more aware of the arcane world. He took up the profession of a sage, along with remaining a thief. As of this adventure he's remained a thief, but he often has a high degree of interest in all things arcane.

---

Father Rivers

Fahter Rivers is an acolyte affiliated with the Cleric of Pelor mentioned in Luther's backstory. He was sent along on this adventure to watch after the party and make sure they come back alive.

---

Milo Wigglesworth

This lightfoot halfling is quite a rascal, often getting the group into some trouble in his pursuit of arcane items of power and knowledge.

---

Hollin

Hollin really just wants to kill things and take their stuff, in the most legal form he can. He's not here to negotiate, he's not here to solve riddles, he's here to kick butt and grab a sack of gold. Why does he want the gold? He's not talking...yet.
 
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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
[A brief note on session reports - some days I took the time for a full entry. Other days, often when I was exhausted at the end of a session, I simply wrote a brief summary, and once I had to go back and write one from memory of the week or two before. None of this has been edited from our log entries kept in Roll20. I may go back and edit some at a later date to make it flow better.]

Session One
July 11, 2013

During the events described in "The Background Story", elsewhere the affairs of men and Drow were having some dire or auspicious consequences, depending on one's perspective.

As detailed in the background stories of Luther (Matt B.'s character, a bugbear Fighter) and Bear (Jason's character, a bugbear Ranger), a party of powerful adventurers rescued those two brave survivors from the ruined undercity of the Drow and their brutal gladatorial arenas. Amongst those powerful adventurers was a follower of the good and righteous deity sometimes known as The Lifegiver.

Setting aside their formerly somewhat wicked ways, Bear and Luther joined the religion of their rescuer, and turned to the side of the light and the just.

On return from their successful foray into the distant dark-elven deepness, those same powerful adventurers went on to be amongst the first to explore the depths of the newly discovered Dwimmerdeep. On their homecoming to town, they were appalled to hear that other amateur adventurers had also ventured forth, and met their maker within the stygian depths of the skull mountain, in their quest for coin and glory.

Concerned that others would follow such an ill-advised path and meet similar fates, the group helped sponsor the founding of the Adventurers Guild.

Hoping to follow in the adventuring footsteps of their mentors, Bear and Luther immediately signed up with the Guild. Therein, they met fellow adventuring hopefuls, Milo (John's character, a halfling Wizard) and Hollin (Noah's character, a human fighter), who had joined for their own mysterious reasons.

The newly formed amateur group were well equipped by the guild, in exchange for a small stake in any treasure found within the dungeon. They were escorted through the wilderness by fellow members of the guild, and led to one of the many openings along the face of that sinister skull mountain.

While most of the escort left for town, intent on returning in a few days to check on the adventurers, two members of the escort force remained behind: Father Rivers (a human cleric of the Lifegiver, and apprentice of that powerful cleric who had helped rescue Bear and Luther), and a mysterious man named Lionel (a human rogue), who the party overheard called "Slink" by his fellow escorts. Father Rivers and Lionel offered to stay within the entry chamber of the dungeon, and provide succor to the party should they require assistance in their quest.

Within that same entry chamber, the party found some torches and oil, and then conversed at some length with a Talking Door (see picture in dungeon). The Talking Door seemed rather sinister, and somewhat cagey, though it did offer to provide some information concerning the Dwimmerdeep, one time. The party asked what they would encounter should they open the Talking Door, and the Door replied with a riddle (see party Handouts - Door Riddle 1).

Working through the riddle, the party determined that a deadly cockatrice, able to turn hapless adventurers to stone, likely stalked within the next room. On advice from the Talking Door, which was later discovered to perhaps be somewhat misleading, the party feared that the gaze of the beast was just as deadly as the claws, and shielded their eyes before hazarding forth.

There they did find such a beast, and slew it well and truly dead, with sword and spell.

Beneath an old barrel within, they found a scared goblinoid creature named Uglug. Interrogating the cowardly soul, the party discerned that Uglug had also spoken with the Talking Door. Uglug's group had asked how they could make some money, and the Door had suggested that they trade cockatrice eggs with some Bullywug creatures that could be found deeper within the depths, and described where such eggs could be located. However, the Door had not warned the goblins that a room full of deadly cockatrice guarded the eggs, and most of the group had been turned to stone (seen as statues now within the room), with poor Uglug hiding within the barrel for a couple days until the party rescued him.

Vowing to devote his life to the adventurers, at least until he could find a cure for his companions, Uglug accompanied the adventurers thereafter.

The wizard Milo then gathered some cockatrice eyeballs and eye-stalks that he thought may have some value as a material component for an advanced spell, and the party journeyed onward.

The party then briefly encountered a pit trap within a hallway. At the bottom of the pit, after one member accidentally fell in, they discovered some valuable coins of an ancient vintage, and a rusty short sword (which they gave to Uglug).

In the next room, the party found a terrifying huge chamber, the floor of which appeared to be completely covered with deadly snakes and serpents. An old chain bridge seemed to have previously traversed the chamber, but it had fallen in long ago, and there seemed to be no safe way across.

After some experimentation, mostly involving explosive conflagrations crafted by Bear using some oil and vinegar barrels previously discovered, the party eventually discovered that most of the serpents were illusions, and only a relatively few of the snakes were real. Carefully climbing down and probing with their staves and weapons, the party made their way safely across.

The next passageway contained some difficult-to-spot green slime. But, the sharp eyes of the party picked up its sheen, and dealt with it handily with fire.

Following along further to the north, the party stealthily opened the next door to find a huge chamber, filled with water to the west and a large temple to the east. The water was occupied by a large crab-like sea creature of some sort, while the temple was well populated with the frog-like beings known as the Bullywugs. Doors exited to the west and north, but both could not be accessed without encountering the Bullywugs.

The party decided to parlay with the swampy temple dwellers rather than fight them, to some success. The Bullywugs revealed that they had been abducted by the Dwimmerdeep itself, their swampy lair having been suddenly absconded whole along with their tribe into the dungeon. They had agreed with the Talking Door to become residents of the depths, a decision they appeared to regret. At war with a nearby tribe of Kobolds, the Bullywugs were working to escape the dungeon. They had concocted a mysterious plan to leave, which apparently required cockatrice eggs as a component. Though they would not disclose the details of their escape plan, the Bullywugs did offer safe passage to a magical well not far beyond their lair, if the party did them but one simple favor. They warned though that, beyond the well, some wicked harpies made their lair in the caverns above.

The favor was of the choosing of the party: either help the Bullywugs kill the vile Kobolds that were vexing them so (and who had tried to eat their pet giant crab), so that the Bullywugs could be freed from their guard duties to go and retrieve the cockatrice eggs they needed themselves. Or, the party could simply obtain the eggs and bring them to the Bullywugs, bypassing any need to deal with the Kobolds.

The party, desiring to obtain access to the magical well which they hoped would cure Uglug's companions of their stoney state, agreed to undertake a task for the Bullywugs in exchange for safe passage. They would attempt to retrieve the eggs, rather than combat the kobolds.

The party returned to the room where they found Uglug, after dealing with some lingering snakes in the snake room, and prepared a plan to attack the remaining cockatrices.

On opening the door to the cockatrice lair, the group found that the old saying of no plan surviving contact with the enemy to be sadly true. As the cockatrice's flew in to attack, chaos ensued. Party members were going down left and right. A fortuitous flaming spell from Milo did manage to stave off the attack before all was lost, but Bear went down to the cockatrice's stone-causing claws, and the rest of the party faced a dire fate as their resources dwindled and situation turned urgent.

Fortunately, Uglug managed to find his courage at last. Well, he did, after he ran away to retrieve help. Fleeing to the next room, Uglug summoned the aid of the Father Rivers and Lionel, who came charging to the rescue. After a brief pitched battle between the hallway separating the cockatrice room and the main entry chamber to the dungeon, wherein Uglug did take a whack at one of the monsters, the group along with their escorts managed to slay the wicked cockatrices.

The battle was not without its casualties, however. Bear remained a stoney statue, victim of the deadly cockatrice attacks.

In addition, after comparing notes, it was discovered that the Talking Door had been a bit misleading in its information concerning the cockatrices. While their gazes could be deadly, they were far less deadly than their claws. And, by attempting to avoid the gaze of the creatures, the party had perhaps put itself at such disadvantage that the wicked birds had gained the upper hand for a time.

On searching the lair of the vile avians, the party did find some sacks of treasure, and more than a sufficient number of the desired cockatrice eggs.

But what to do about Bear's stoney state? The group rested and planned, hoping to trade the eggs for safe passage to the rumored magic well that might cure him, along with Uglug's companions.

To be continued, next session....

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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Session Two (and three?):
Late July 18 or 25, 2013

Brief update:

[There seems to be a session report missing here, I will see if I can dig it up but I think it's because Roll20 was new to us and we were not sure we wanted to keep the log there yet. The party first escaped a pit trap, then crossed a snake pit infested room that turned out to mostly be illusions. Finally they found a Bullywug chamber, with mysterious rituals going on and a full lake and temple. They negotiated with the Bullywugs]

You found 102 GP, 35 SP, and 12 cockatrice eggs, all in the cockatrice lair.

John harvested the eyes and eyestalks from the 5 additional cockatrice corpses.

You talked to the Talking Door again, and heard about Harpies, and concocted a plan to deal with them involving wax in your ears.

You brought the cockatrice eggs to the Bullywugs, giving them 9 and keeping 3 for yourselves.

You negotiated your way past the Bullywugs. They took the eggs to some sort of underground watery cavern.

You encountered the well, named Elemrodel. It said it was a guardian of this place, put here long ago along with other guardians elsewhere, to protect the good against the evil that is the Dwimmer thing that lurks in the walls, and which is perhaps in some way related to the mad king. It enchanted your Guild amulets (or in the case of Slink, his wet left boot) to allow you to open doors in the dungeon as if you are residents. It also gave you sufficient magical waters to cure petrification, assuming the water is applied within 1 hour.

You de-petrified Bear, and the goblins. The goblins thanked you profusely and promise to bring you treasure from their lair, which is 3 days away. Slink also gave them 8 gp (2 gp each) as a token of alms for the poor.

You ventured up some dark stairs, and encountered first 5 stirges, and then a nasty telepathic Spinagon spined devil, all of which you slew. The devil had a tiny forked trident device in its hands.

You hear screeching in the distant caverns.

[So far, each of you have earned 200 experience points, leaving a mere 50 experience points before you level to second level.]

Snake Chamber
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Bullywug under-temple pool
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Bullywug temple and lake
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Angel in the Well chamber
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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Session 3
August 1, 2013

[Max played Bear, John played Luther]

You inspected the golden small trident from the small devil-like creature you slew last time, and could not determine anything much about it's origins and purpose.

After exploring for a bit you found a secure small cavern to rest in for roughly an hour, where Milo re-memorized his magic missile spell.

You then traveled north, towards the sounds of flapping wings, wax secured in your ears. Slink snuck ahead, silent and hidden in shadows, and spotted some harpies in a cavern. Agreeing to try and draw the harpies down into an ambush, the rest of the party secured positions in a tight cavern corridor, while Slink loosed an arrow at a Harpy. The shot went wide, but got the disgusting creatures attention. There appeared to be three harpies in total, two which looked smaller, dirtier, and more bent over, and one that moved with a bit more grace and length. There were also two human figures, who appeared to be trapped in cages, to the east of the cavern.

The Harpies took the bait presented by Slink, and flew down the corridor after him. The ambush worked well, and the party made short order of the two smaller harpies, though Hollin did have a close call with some sort of nasty screeching attack from one of the smaller Harpies. The larger one fled, and a pleasant siren song could be heard in the distance, even through the wax in your ears.

The party pressed on, and discovered that the remaining harpy had enchanted the two humans in the cages, and set them free. But between Milo's magic missiles and the swords and bows of the party, the remaining harpy went down pretty quickly. Slink then hit one of the human warrior's cages with a lucky shot, shutting the cage door, while Hollin slammed shut the other cage door, trapping the enchanted warriors before they could attack.

The battle was won. Within about a minute, the minds of the captures warriors seemed to clear. They told a sad tale, of how they were some of the earliest peasant explorers of the dungeon, before the Adventuring guild was established. They had entered through one of the eye-sockets of the skull mountain, and immediately fled further into the caverns, away from spiders and flying things in the dark, only to be captured by more harpies to the north, and stuck in these cages. The food they had been fed was vile and barely edible, and their remaining companions had not been seen in weeks and were surely dead. They just wanted out of the dungeon, and didn't want to go back the way they had come for fear of being eaten, or worse.

The party agreed to escort these scared men out of the dungeon, back down the stairs, past the Bullywugs, and out the front entrance in the mouth of the skull. Thankful, the men hopped they could deliver the party a reward from their families as a gift for rescuing them, and promise to meet the party at the Adventurer's Guild in the future.

Resting overnight in the first dungeon room with the three doors, the party recuperated from their various wounds, and memorized spells.

The night, and the return to the upper caverns, was uneventful.

Picking up with you left off, the party decided to travel down a rough cavern corridor that led east. There they found some spikes set firmly in the ground, though Slink was able to remove one with some effort. The spikes seemed to serve no apparent purpose at first, since they were not attached to any trap mechanism, and reached most of the way to the short ceiling in this area, but otherwise could be fairly easily navigated by you humanoids. Bear speculated that perhaps they were put there to keep some large creature penned in.

Passing the spikes, the party came to a fork in the corridor, and snuck slowly north while the wizard took up the rear.

Surprise! You stumbled on a massive, green writhing Carrion Crawler! It's wicked tentacles and sharp teeth were even at that moment crunching on some detestable substance. Hollin and Bear attacked, and the thing struck back, paralyzing Bear with it's long tentacles!

Meanwhile, a cry from Milo revealed a second Crawler! It came from behind, down a corridor to the south, and the party appeared trapped between the two creatures in a narrow tunnel. Milo was immediately paralyzed and crunched-on by the creatures sharp teeth!

Luther and Hollin continued to chop away at the first Crawler, while Hollin defended the wizard with ranged attacks to the south. Luck was with the adventurers, as the tide finally turned with the death of the first Crawler. Milo managed to shrug off the effects of the poison from the tentacles, and fled away, took a wicked wound from a bite from the creature as he ran. Meanwhile Luther took up a defensive position next to Slink, as the second creature approached.

While Bear remained paralyzed, the party hacked away at the foul worm, and with some effort, the creature was finally put down.

After a while, Bear was also able to shrug off the paralysis. Using his cure spell, he healed Milo's nasty looking wound, and the group searched around the immediate area to see what could be seen.

Discovering two short corridors, one to the north and the other two the south, the party found three bodies. Two of the bodies contained identical, small figurines that seemed to have some religious significance. Some gold and silver coins were also found, along with some mostly-disintegrated ordinary weapons, shields, and armor.

Traveling a bit further east, the passageways turn north, and south. The northern path seemed to go on for some distance, while the one to the south makes a turn.

[Note: The party gained a level after the Harpy battle. Hit points were rolled. The rolled hit points can be re-rolled by the individuals who own the characters who were played by others tonight. Max had rolled a 6 for Jason, while John had rolled a 3 for Mathew B. ]

Note 2: A full count on the silver and gold found is forthcoming].

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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Session 4
August 15, 2013

Venturing further into the caverns, you passed another set of spikes set in the cavern floor, presumably the other end of the carrion crawler lair.

Beyond those spikes, you discovered some spider webs, coating from ceiling to floor the entire passageway. Using some torches you found on entering the dungeon a couple days ago, you burned these as you continued onward.

Suddenly, Bear was struck by webbing shot from somewhere to the darkened north! This of course marks the third time in a row Bear has found himself frozen (first turned to stone, then paralyzed, and now restrained by webbing), so he didn't look surprised at all to find himself unable to move once again.

The party moved in and attacked what turned out to be a giant spider lurking on the ceiling. It took a bite out of Bear, but otherwise went down fairly quickly.

On burning away more web, you found a couple of semi-mummified corpses, wrapped in copious amounts of web. Cutting away the wrappings, you discovered the bodies had some rotted weaponry, and a few pouches of coinage, which you pocketed to count later.

Moving further north through the webbed passageways, you were again surprised by what this time turned out to be not one, but two additional giant spiders. One was a giant brown sucker, and the other an even more terrifying black one.

Bear got another bite taken out of him, but the party managed to take down the black spider, as the brown one fled from your slings and arrows.

Coming across a rail track that led from east to west, which appeared to be a mining path of some sort, you found yet more giant spiders. The two new ones, which were eventually joined by the wounded prior spider that had fled, ganged up on Bear once again. Wounding him graciously, Bear withdrew as Luther and Milo filled the gap in the battle lines. Arrows, slings, and spells flew north as the spiders attacked back with their deadly mandibles. Finally, Milo's thunderwave spell seemed to take the fight out of the creatures, blowing their webbing back, slaying one and heavily wounding the other. The remainder of the spiders died quickly thereafter to the clean-up sling shots and arrows of Luther, Slink, and Hollin.

The battle won, the party continued to clear out the webbed caverns, and discovered more semi-mummified to the east and west, with one batch somewhat wealthier than the other.

Returning to the rail tracks, you peered to the west and found the tracks carried on into the distance, while to the east you found an abandoned empty mining cart. Then suddenly Bear spotted a Kobold in hiding to the east. Sly dog that Bear is, he played it cool, not giving away that he had spotted the Kobold, and informed the party quietly of his discovery.

The group quickly conceived a plan involving a bluffed vacating of the area and heading south. The Kobold did not take the bait, so the bluff was further reinforced with mentions of abandoned food. Finding the Kobold was determined to not follow, you eventually opted for the more straightforward approach. Luther led the way, as the party charged in to the east, past the mining cart and into a further chamber...

...Only to find a room full of creatures!

There stood the Kobold on guard, backed by two shadowy flying creatures to the south that appeared to somewhat have the shape of Kobolds, but also seeded to be made of shadowy somewhat insubstantial material. To the east there stood a shamanic-like Kobold, and behind him, up on a pedestal, glared a Spinned Devil, rather similar to the one you fought earlier, down to the golden trident grasped in his claw.

[Out of Character, we discussed adopting the new playtest packet rules, properly leveling everyone up to second level, and Max making his own character some time this next week. For the next three sessions Jason is likely out, and otherwise Max, Noah, and John are in for next session. Treasure for this session, and the prior one, will be listed early next week, I hope].

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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Session 5

August 29, 2013

Hardest Day Yet!

Two tough battles, where the party barely scrapped by. Well OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it was rough going there.

The party heard the telepathic angry cry of something (presumably the Demon, but perhaps something else), commanding his minions to capture "the bodies we need". The Kobolds and Demon attacked at once. Luther went down quick, helpless to defend against his foes overwhelming numbers. Fortunately for him, the final blow appeared to be intentionally aimed to knock him out, rather than kill him. If not for that, perhaps he would have perished.

Hearing his cries of distress, the rest of the party moved in. As the black flying demon hovered above the prone Luther, the party took down the smaller Kobolds, in an exchange of blows. One of the shadowy flying Kobolds tried to drop a glob of black-something on the party, which fortunately missed and dissipated on contact with the ground.

Suddenly, a shamanic-like Kobold threw a glass vial of some sort into the room, exploding in a yellow mist throughout. Milo, drawing on his knowledge of arcane lore, determined that it was protective in nature. He let loose with his magic missiles, and combined with the swordplay of Bear, Hollin and Slink, felled the Demon and his remaining allies. As each of the two shadowy kobolds fell, their bodies disappeared. The other three kobolds, however, left behind perfectly normal corpses, as did the Demon.

Leaving the stabilized and unconscious Luther under guard, they searched the room. The group found some gold (including a platinum piece) and three potions. One was black, one light blue, and one brown. Milo was able to read the black one, which had been on one of the Kobolds, and he thought the Draconic text on it implied poison or death. He could not read the infernal tongue on the other two, which had been found on the Demon. Another small golden trident was also found on the body of the Demon, along with a map.

The map appeared to display a path through the cavern levels the party was currently on, back down the stairs, and all the way back to the original dungeon entrance, and then through the ordinary door to the west, that the party had not tried yet. It was unclear who drew the map, though the handwriting was fairly crude. And it was unclear what it led to, as there was no indication of what might lay in that direction.

To the south Slink found some more coin-based treasure hidden amongst some rubble, including some valuable common precious stones.

Deciding to rest for some hours, Bear and Hollin discovered two barriers had been erected to the east and north. Each appeared to have been built from the other side, to seemingly prevent things from leaving, but the smell of fresh air was detected from somewhere behind each.

Meanwhile Milo checked out the two pillar-like structures in the room. Each was movable, and reached to about waist height. He cast detect magic on the pillars and other objects in the room. First, he found that the black potion was not magic. The Light Blue potion glowed with the glow of Conjuration, and the party speculated it could be a healing potion (or perhaps not). The other glowed with the glow of Transmutation. The pillars themselves were not magical, but Milo detected the faint aura of necromantic energy atop them, as if some evil ritual or rite had transpired there at some time in the not too distant past.

Luther came too after several hours, with a headache but otherwise none the worse for wear. The group decided to spend the night in this area, and built a barrier on the one otherwise-unobstructed passage out of the room. The barrier consisted of the altars, the rubble from the south, and an old overturned mining cart.

Refreshed and rested, the party found their sleep had gone undisturbed. Taking some additional time to rip down the barrier to the east, the part followed along a gradually lightening winding corridor, and finally came to an exit from the dungeons. Looking out over the valley below, they found themselves in the left eye socket of the great Skull Mountain, and speculated that perhaps the other barrier they had not tried earlier to the north led to the right eye socket. Below, they spied a grey rocky trail that led precariously back down to the valley, which would otherwise be fairly difficult to spot from below.

Returning to the dungeon the way they had just come, the party decided to follow the mining car tracks rather than retrace their steps to the south through the former spider web and carrion crawler regions. The tracks led on a twisting and turning path until it finally reached a large cavern.

Though they tried to approach with stealth, Bear gave away their presence when he slipped on a loose stone, and the party could hear the screeching of something in the distance. They knew they had been discovered, perhaps by the vile Harpies they had previously fought!

Slink took cover behind a cavern wall, but Bear, Luther, and Hollin charged in to the cavern. There, they found Harpies laying in wait. Luther became charmed by their alluring song, and strode off after one of the, with a hypnotic loving gave on his face. Soon thereafter a queen Harpy revealed herself, perched on a rocky area in the middle of the room. The Queen charmed Bear as well, and it seemed things were not going well for the party.

Some further blows were exchanged, as Milo discharged his magic missiles while Slink, deciding that stealth was no longer useful, moved on in and made some sneak attacks on the nearest Harpy.

As Luther stared enthralled at one of the Harpies, Bear managed to break the charm and pursue the queen. Meanwhile, Hollin too fell under their charm, as Milo and Slink continued to battle with the lesser Harpies.

Bear pursued the Queen across the rocky cavern floor, dodging screeching attacks, claws and clubbings alike. Luther broke the charm as well, as dark Harpies took advantage of Hollin's enthralled state to assault him ruthlessly. To no avail! Despite 4 attacks with clubs and claws [8 actual rolls, as they had advantage] only one minor hit was struck with a club. Hollin was able to retreat out of there mostly unharmed, thanks to his armor.

But all was still not well. Slink went down to the onthrust of Harpy attacks, and started to bleed out. Milo struck down two Harpies with another flurry of magic missiles, and then rushed to Slink's aid, stabilizing his bleeding. Meanwhile the renewed attacks from Hollin and Luther brought down more Harpies, as Bear continued his dogged pursuit of the Queen Harpy.

Finally, it came down to two foes left. Hollin tried to strike at one of the dark harpies that had retreated to a perch on the higher rocky central area, while Bear tried to locate the Queen who had retreated into darkness.

Hollin was able to finally strike down the remaining dark harpy on it's perch, with some help from Luther's sling shots. Milo then cast a Light spell on a copper piece, and successfully tossed it into an area of the room that revealed the hiding place of the Queen Harpy, who had burrowed herself into a huge nest to the northwest of the cavern.

Bear renewed his pursuit, and with Hollins help the two took the Queen down finally, to screech no more.

Exhausted and bleeding, the party gathered to assess the situation. Nothing else is heard, except the quiet of the cavern, and the echoed hard breathing of the party. Surely treasure awaits a search, once Slink is back on his feet.

[I have the treasure lists from the last few sessions ready, along with this one. The only non-coin/jewels treasure found are the three potions, so far, plus another golden trident off the Demon. John, Noah, and Max all said they would likely be able to make next Thursday's game, and Matt A said he would as well (by text). Matt B, who had intended to play tonight, had his car stuck and was unable to make the game, but hopefully can make next weeks as well. Max wants to create a Cleric, or play the existing pre-built Cleric (Father Rivers), for next session. He may invite his friend Robert to play Jason's character for next week.]

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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Session 6

Sept 5, 2013

This was a very short session, with Max, Matt A., and Noah (for about 30 mins or so).

The party conducted an initial brief search of the room where the Harpy Queen and her minions fell. There was a stack of mis-matched treasure in one corner which looked to be from a variety of different sources, along with some pouches on the dead harpies themselves. You didn't take the time to count every coin, but it looked like around 2,300 copper pieces, 190 silver pieces, 80 gold pieces, and four potions in small vials, between the pouches and the treasure pile.

Two of the four potions had labels. One was clearly labelled "healing" in the modern common tongue. One was labelled in broken Orcish, which Luther translated roughly to say "What the Spiders do". The other two potions were not labelled.

The group then carried the unconscious Slink back the way they'd come to gain healing from the cleric, along with the newly acquired sacks of treasure. A brief discussion was had concerning the possibility of heading out through the mountain-skull eye-socket and back down the mountain, but it was decided that path could have unknown dangers, and it was safer to take the known path back down the stairs, through the Bullywug lair and illusionary snakes and cockatrice lair.

Slink was healed by the cleric, and the entire party (including the cleric, but leaving Bear behind to guard the entrance to the dungeon) headed back out to conduct a more thorough search of the Harpy chamber.

On the way there, however, the party noticed that the Bullywugs did not seem to be present in their lair any longer. Taking a quick peak at the watery cavern beneath the Bullywug temple, the party could see no Bullywugs. Slink took a brief dip in the water to examine the cavern closer. There, he spotted a roughly circular burnt section on one wall, and a small cavernous passageway never the back of the cavern which the party hadn't spotted before. Slink looked quickly at the cavern, but it ended in a dead-end and he decided to re-join the party and make note of it for later.

On returning to the Harpy room, a more thorough search was conducted. Within the Harpy nest, Slink discovered a longsword. The sword was unrusted, and not dinged from battle, but otherwise bore no visible markings.

On closer examination, Slink felt he recognized the style of blade from somewhere, but he just couldn't place where. He didn't get a sense it was of monstrous manufacture, but he couldn't quite remember what people's made such blades. And lacking a detect magic spell at the moment (which the Wizard, Milo, had previously cast already), the party decided to try and figure the blade out later.

The group then took a quick look around the caverns, found that they had likely been almost everywhere, and returned to the main chambers on the entry level of the dungeon.

While the rest of the party rested in the front room (Milo studying his books), Slink and the Cleric decided to go check out that watery cavern of the Bullywugs one more time.

Wading over to the newly discovered short passageway in the rear of the cavern, the Cleric discovered that a smooth surface was there, but obscured by the build-up of many years of corrosion, dirt, and mineral layers. The two party members hacked away at the corrosion, revealing an ancient doorway. There, the Cleric peered with determination, and discovered some ancient common carved into the door, which seemed to say something like, "Our Honored Dead". Putting his shoulder into the door, the Cleric was able to barely move it [Edit - Rolled a natural 20 on his strength check!], and with Slink's help the two were able to open the ancient door.

Behind the door was a very dark passage leading south, and another door directly across from the one just opened. Slink could neither hear anything behind that door, nor did he detect any traps in it. The ground of the passageway south looked untouched for ages, covered with dust and no footprints.

However the Bullywugs left, it did not seem that this was the path they took.

The two then returned to the party at the front entrance, and the group plotted their next move. The Cleric explained that it might be time for him to head back to town and report back to the Adventurers Guild, but another Cleric would be along shortly to replace him.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Session 7

September 12, 2013

Milo began the evening attempting to discern the exact nature of the sword discovered from the harpy lair. By hefting the weapon, he found that it seemed half as light as it should be for it's size, and felt hollow but otherwise very solid. He cast detect magic and found that it was definitely magical in nature. He then performed the Identify ritual, spending a crushed pearl, feather, and some wine, combined with an elaborate dance and cant. At the completion of the ritual, he declared that the sword was of elemental origin, hailing from the plane of air at some time in the distant past, and that it would do more damage than a normal sword, not age or become worn.

Hollin asked if perhaps he could carry the weapon for a time, as his focus was on the longsword and the thing appealed to him. The party agreed, and he spent some time contemplating a proper name for the elemental airy weapon.

The party then rested for a long spell, recovering their health and magical abilities, as Milo studied his books.

After the rest, the group decided to explore the recently discovered secret door, beneath the Bullywug temple. Slink opted to stay behind this time, counting his gold...and guarding the entrance, of course.

The secret door revealed a corridor heading south, and another locked iron door directly to the east. Bear stealthily checked the southern passageway, finding an ordinary but old wooden door at the end of that hall. The entire corridor seemed old and undisturbed. Listening at that door, he heard nothing. On opening it, as the rest of the party caught up, the hinges creaked loudly from disuse. Another short corridor lay beyond, heading east from the door. At the end of that new hallway was what appeared to be a secret door, if it were viewed from the other side. From this side the door was obvious, with a handle that pulled the door inwards. But based on how flush it was against the wall, it seemed like it would be pretty difficult to spot from the other side. No peephole could be found, however.

Opting to save that hidden door for now, the party returned to the locked iron door. Lacking the thief, it took some time to jimmy the lock, and the bugbears contemplated simply bashing the door in. But finally the Hollin managed to pop the lock with a lucky twist.

Behind the locked door was a steep set of stairs heading down fairly far, beyond the darkvision of the bugbears, into the depths of what was presumed to be another level.

Deciding that perhaps another level of the dungeon could wait, the group returned to the unhidden side of the newly discovered secret door. Father Rivers carefully opened it, and stepped inside.

A crypt lay on the other side, with six stone slabs within, three to each of the north and south. Also on the south was a glimmering tray on the ground, and a grate with hot air coming from below. Finally, a few urns lay scattered about, and an old prayer rug lay at the entrance to the room.

Oh, and some skeletons. One on each slab. Those to the north seemed laid out a bit haphazardly, while those to the south seemed more orderly.

Milo detected magic on the room, and the entire crypt emanated necromantic, with particular malevolence from the skeletal remains.

As Father Rivers stepped forth preparing to pray over the corpses, the skeletal remains began to animate. Limbs began to attach themselves to the torso, and the constructs started to rise, with a wicked glow to their hollow eye-sockets.

Before the skeletons could attack, however, Father Rivers called forth the power of the Lifegiver. Half the skeletons disintegrated at the booming voice of the Believer. One tried to flee, as two more resisted the challenge and prepared to attack.

Bear ran in, guarding the exit from the room, as Hollin and Luther engaged in melee, dodging the frosting rays from Milo. Bear took down the fleeing skeleton, as the others made quick work of the remaining two, though Luther was injured by one.

On inspection of the crypt, the group found the names of the departed carved into their burial slabs: Lord Smyth, Sylvester, Reginal (who fled), Koofus Krumbley, Snarkly, and Sir Jackson Riffle (the only one to take a real swing at the group, doing some damage to Luther). Some gold and gems were also found amongst their remains. The donation tray was also found to be made of gold and silver, and had some value. The treasure was stowed for counting later. Father Rivers healed Luther.

Moving further on, Bear found a short set of stairs to the south to a slightly lower level, a passageway to the north, and another room to the east. Approaching the room to the east, he saw two additional corpses, slumped against the wall, with sickly white flesh beneath their old leather armor.

Father Rivers entered the new room, and the sickly Wight's rose and attacked. Luther charged in, and swung at the beasts as they attacked in return. He took a chunk out of each of them, though he was frustrated that his blows did not seem to do as much damage as he expected them to. Fortunately he was able to dodge three of their four returning slashes with scimitars and longswords. However the one that did strike true carved a mighty wound in Luther's side, and he retreated away from the thing as others moved in.

Hollin took a swing, but missed despite his new magical sword. Not so with Bear, whose blows landed true, though again without as much impact as intended.

Milo's voice range with arcane words, as he called forth a thunderous wave of sound. The sound seemed to warp around his allies, preventing them from feeling the brunt of the deadly soundwave, but struck hard against the Wights, blowing them back against the far wall of the room and damaging them deeply.

The Wights responded with a joint attack on Bear. One had dropped his longswords when blown back, but landed a meaty blow on Bear with his wicked, dirty claws. Bear screamed in terror, as he felt his life force drain from him! [-5 to maximum hitpoints until he has a long rest or receives special magical healing of a curse removing nature]. The two scimitars from the other Wight also struck true, and Bear went down, unconscious.

Seeking revenge on his fallen ally, Hollin charged in, his magic sword sinking deep into one of the Wights. Whatever resisting force prevented the Wights from feeling the full brunt of earlier blows did not seem present against the magic of Hollin's new sword, and the Wight looked to be nearly back to being dead again.

Luther, in his weakened state from the earlier blows, opted to attack from range, and damaged one Wight. Milo then wiped them up, thundering down on their heads yet another wave of sound, which finally knocked the necromantic energy from the corpses, which fell to an inanimate state once again.

Father Rivers laid hands on the fallen Bear, who was able to stand again after receiving the "Spare the Dying" cantrip form Rivers. The group did a quick search of the room, and noted the Wights they had just defeated had once been known as Sir Robert of Norry, and Sir Fistival of Lativia, based on the inscriptions on their tombs. Gathering some items they felt were valuable, the party retreated back to the hidden hallway to lick their wounds and contemplate their next course of action.

[Treasure and XP to be posted later this week. All reported they will be available for a further game next week.]

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