Thursday, 26 June 2014

Doggerland Session 6:35 (Dungeon Level 1)

Dungeon Level One (18th June 2014)

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Cormac – Fighter
Johan – Cleric
Theoderic - Fighter
Vox – Magic User
Part of amended map to Dungeon Level 1 - copyright TSR/Wizards of the Coast
The Return of Theoderic

The villagers of the sleepy village of Steeplefell bade their heartfelt farewells to the doughty fighter as he shouldered his pack and headed off into the early morning mist. The recent successful missions by the party he had met only the day before had made travelling the roads a lot safer lately, and so he was able to make good time on his journey to Castleford.

He had decided not to wait upon the party’s return as it had been agreed that after he had safely delivered the captured village maidens to their home he could make his own way. He did briefly think about returning to the dungeon beneath the Pool of the Standing Stones to catch up with them again, but the pull of the big city and the reward of a hundred silver coins in his purse meant he decided to leave them to their own devices; and anyway, they may very well all be dead by now if rumours of the Bone Devil were true.

However, after a few days of carousing his interest in civilisation paled and he again sought adventure and more treasure. His first thoughts turned to the party he had met only a few days previously, and as he headed towards Nulb, rumours of the fabulous treasure that they had brought back with them from the dungeon only piqued his interest in them even more. They would be his meal ticket, and if he wound up saving the world in the process, all the better.

He managed to get directions to where they had headed from a few of the denizens of Nulb and followed the path that they had trod only a few days previously. He passed the remains of the burnt corpses of the trolls along the trail, so he knew that he must be on the right track.

Finally he arrived at the overgrown remains of the Temple. Again he saw the results of the party’s handiwork outside the main Temple building and just inside the vestibule he spotted the crushed remains of several stirges.

Just as he entered the nave, he caught the dim sounds of fighting from up ahead. He readjusted the straps on his armour, took a fresh grip upon his shield and readied his sword for combat. He approached the central stairwell and took a deep breath before he headed down into the twilight world beneath.

Johan’s Exit - Freyasday 19th Hextember (Day 80) – afternoon

Johan was stranded alone on the opposite side of the pyramid dais from his companions. He still held within his hands the bronze casket that contained the sacrificial implements; he was determined to work out what they were for. The four elementals had stopped in their pursuit of the ranger and had turned their attention to him. He decided that he might best escape their clutches if he passed through the curtain he had seen Vox go through earlier.

Just as his thoughts turned to the young mage, he saw a bolt of lightning shoot forth from the diadem that he now continually wore upon his brow. This struck two of the elementals, but did not stop them in their stride towards the lone cleric. The earthen elementals stomped towards the cleric as he dithered at the base of the pyramid and then split up to entrap him between their two-pronged advance.

Johan spotted his chance and sprinted towards the curtain, casket under-arm. Vox again saw a chance to further his curiosity about the way the world worked, so he launched a Fireball at the elementals now that they were within optimal range. Two of the earthen beings were struck and one of them stumbled a little upon the impact of the magical fire. This gave Johan just enough time to get to the curtain.

As his feet struck the solid flagstones beyond the drapery, the elementals stopped their pursuit. They stood motionless for a few moments before they returned to their original points of emergence from the earthen floor. Once they had all reached their original point of entry, they slowly disseminated and flowed back into the ground without leaving a trace.

The rest of the party were intent on watching their companion’s escape, but a greeting from above made them momentarily forget him. Theoderic descended the stone steps into the chamber cautiously and re-joined his former companions at the bottom of the stairs.

Gnoll Attack

As the elementals returned to the world of their origins, Johan was left stumbling around in the dark; for he had brought no lantern with him in his flight from them.

Vox, as he knew about the darkness of the corridor beyond the curtain, went to look for him in order to confirm or dismiss his notion that the cleric had been killed by some hidden trap or monster in the darkness. He lit his lantern and proceeded cautiously across the floor, but avoided the entrance points that the elementals had come from. Nothing happened on his journey over, but when he arrived at the curtain and twitched it aside he realised, with disappointment, that he had got there just in time to save the cleric from wandering off and becoming lost in the darkness beyond.

Just as he stepped through the drapery, the rest of the party at the base of the steps on the opposite side of the room heard the shuffle of feet and the low rumble of otherworldly voices. The three fighters quickly halted their greetings and catch-up conversation and made ready to meet whatever threat that would come down the steps.

A few tense moments were dispelled when the four gnolls spotted the three warriors, howled their war cries, and sped into combat with weapons and teeth bared. The fight was over almost as soon as it began. The party now had the measure of these seven foot tall dog-headed humanoids, and the experience they had gained in fighting them previously meant that they were able to exploit the weaknesses in their attack plans.

Meanwhile, the lantern-aided Vox had caught up with Johan beyond the curtain and informed him that it was now safe to return to the main room as the elementals had been dispelled. However, Johan was determined to rest up and regain a few spells so he could study the evil casket and rid the world of the evil items. Vox shrugged his shoulders and returned to the rest of his companions just as they dispatched the last of the gnolls. Cormac made his way over to the second curtain and he found that beyond it was the mirror image of the one that the two magic wielders had passed through. Vox began to explain to Bow and Theoderic what Johan was up to.

Whilst Cormac confirmed what was beyond the second curtain, Bow explored the right hand room with the stones and barrels again. After he had prised off the lids of a few barrels he surmised that they were most likely all full of lantern oil, but little else of interest was to be found in the room. He replenished his own lantern oil stocks, lit a rag, and dropped it onto some of the spilled oil. He then swiftly left the room and closed the door after him with a wry grin upon his face. He then moved along the wall past a curious Vox and Theoderic to the other room that Johan could not see and picked up the few treasures in there that he found in a small cupboard.

A few minutes later the oil that had been lit in the side room had built up enough pressure that it exploded; it sent a shower of the stones mixed with shattered wooden door splinters over the earthen floor.

The Cleric and the Bugbears

Whilst all this was going on, Johan had made himself comfortable opposite the one side tunnel that the two companions had spotted with their lantern. He placed the evil casket beside him so that it did not get in the way of his divine preparations but could be picked up in a hurry should the need so arise. In the darkness, for Vox had taken his lantern with him again, he began to chant and pray to gain some divining spells from his god Balder.

After a few minutes of meditation he was disturbed by the explosion that Bow had set up. A few seconds after the low rumble had died away, he then heard a door open from some way down the side corridor that was now ahead of him. This roused him from his reverie; he then heard the swooshing sound of weapons being readied and the soft pad of several sets of footsteps approached him rapidly. He managed to pick up the casket and began to stumble back towards the main chamber using the side wall as his guide but he was struck from behind by a pursuer who could obviously see in the total darkness of the corridor.

Fear put speed into his steps and he burst into the main chamber with three bugbears in hot pursuit. The fighters spotted his hasty return and subsequent pursuit so ran to his aid. Theoderic and Bow passed the cleric in his headlong flight to the entrance steps and thus blocked the bugbears from their quarry. Cormac ran across from the other curtained corner and joined his belligerent companions in their attack on the bugbears, whilst Vox shouted encouragement from the safety of the steps.

Again, the fighters got the drop on their attackers as past experience of fighting these large, hairy beings came to the fore. It only took a few moments for the three fighters to dispatch their opponents.

Buried Treasure!

After the three fighters had wiped the dark blood from their blades they returned to the main entrance steps where they took stock of their current situation. Whilst they were discussing their options, Bow noticed that the shower of stones and wooden shards from the oil keg explosion had disturbed the soil where the nearest elemental to the door had ‘melted’ back into the ground. He tentatively poked the depression with the blade of his sword and after a few moments it hit something that yielded in a different way to the earth in the hole. He put his blade away and hauled the earth out of the hole using his hands to find a leather sack that contained a large amount of gold coins and a few other items of treasure. The rest of the party then joined him at the other three entrance holes and dug up further hoards of coins and curious items.

Return to Nulb - evening

The large sum of treasure and the beaten up countenance of each of the adventurers forced the companions to realise that they were in sore need of rest and a fresh plan on how to tackle this dungeon.

Johan then raised the issue of the return to life of their companion Gull. He argued that as they had done this for Hallan, they should do so for Gull – they had just found more than enough gold for this after all. His arguments convinced the rest of them, albeit grudgingly in a couple of instances, so the fighters picked up the body of their comrade and made their way out of the main Temple building.

Bow and Cormac were about to head off to make a sling for Gull’s corpse when they remembered that the barn with the six riding horses was just to the north outside the Temple grounds. The horses were beginning to get a bit restless due to a lack of fodder but they snickered their appreciation of a few apples from Vox’s pack. The party mounted up in readiness for a slow return to Nulb; Gull’s horse had to be led, but so did Vox’s and Johan’s as neither had any skill at riding a horse.

Rest and Recuperation - (days 81-82)

The light was fading from the sky as the party returned to Nulb. The horses clopped slowly into the village with their burdens and were halted outside the new motte and bailey fortification. Bow and Cormac dismounted and approached the gate guards.

They were told that there was still no tavern as such (but one was being built on the razed remains of the Boatmen’s Tavern up by the Pool), but with a few minutes’ negotiation, and the crossing of several gold coins into eager palms, they managed to set up a cot each within the confines of the new wooden castle.

They laid Gull’s body onto a trestle table and Johan Spoke with his Dead spirit. He asked him whether he was happy where he was and where his nearest family were to be found. Gull’s spirit replied that he was not happy where he was as he had been taken too early and that his family were in Castleford. This convinced Johan further that they must resurrect their companion.

Vox, a little wary due to the spell’s side effects, Identified the treasure haul from the elemental room, but this forced him to sleep a lot over the next two days to recover from the exertion required.

During this down time for the young wizard, Cormac asked around town after the old crone and her herb lore to see if they could get Gull resurrected. He found her at her herb shop with her equally craggy daughter. She responded politely to his questions but said that she did not know of anyone that had the skills outside of Castleford or Loidis.

Meanwhile, Johan spent most of the time resting and gaining as many healing spells as he was able to. Once a day he gained a full complement of healing spells in place of his usual offensive and defensive ones and was thus able to bring the rest of the party up to full health.

In between times he was also able to converse with the artisans who were busy constructing the new church dedicated to Sol Invictus, the new stone castle, and the numerous other new buildings in Nulb, which included the new tavern and a house for the local lord to be invested in. He wanted to find out how much it would cost, and how long it would take, for them to build a temple dedicated to the Old Gods. He was told that this could be done, but the artisans would need plans and so forth so that they could give him a quote for the work required. They also mentioned that it would most likely not be wise to build such an edifice within a Thuringian controlled township. He thanked them for their advice and went back to aiding his companions.

Whilst the two magic users went about their business of working out the party’s treasure and healing their wounds, the three warriors, after getting the nicks honed out of their sword blades and the rents repaired in their armour, managed to find a variety of places in which they could purchase drink and enjoy themselves – the local soldiers and a few other townsfolk had plenty of beer, ale and wine to sell them, as well as places to drink it.

Rest and Recuperation – Moonday 22nd Hextember (day 83)

Vox finally awoke from his the efforts of his second Identify spell, fully refreshed, and much to his chagrin healed up. He gathered the rest of his companions around him and asked them what they would like to do next. They had recovered the Sword of Solitude and one of the amulets (Bow still had not told them that he had the first amulet about his person too), but still needed to find the rest of the items in order to be able to dispel Zuggtmoy back to her own realm.

They concluded that as they would need to return to Castleford to get Gull resurrected anyway, they might as well go to the Baron Tancred to see if he had any more information for them. Surely Lareth from the moat house would have surrendered information on the whereabouts of some of these items?

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