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the-madness-beneath

(these articles are a series of actual play write-ups where I playtest a bunch of weirdness and have fun running through random dungeons)

Our party’s second adventure into the ruins of the undercity is significantly more exciting for them, and shows off some nice benefits of the new classes in question (instead of their penalties that we ran into last game).

Avoiding the area where we ran into the representatives of the local thieves’ guild the day before, we headed deeper into the ruins and sewers beneath Cryptopolis. Our party of six are adventuring in with the benefit of a mass blessing they acquired at the end of last session giving them a +1 on attack rolls for this entire run into the ruins. With that in mind, we’ve come set up to make camp in the dungeon if necessary.

In a chamber just off our earlier explorations we found 500 gp just laying scattered across the floor. Curious, we followed the one passage out of the room and came to a portcullis blocking our way. Gurgli the Hungry (our beloved slobbering mouther) slipped between the bars and then started to lift the portcullis, surprising us with his might, and then Scoreis the centaur lifted it the rest of the way up. A side passage brought us to a door through which we heard voices and movement. Smashing through it, we came across another armed group of brigands (possibly the same group), fourteen of them in total, all jammed into a 10×10 room – they were not quite stacked like cordwood, but they were all around the place, hanging from the ceiling, guarding the far door, and well, everywhere. We didn’t surprise them, but we did get the initiative and dropped the classic tactical nuclear sleep spell into the mess, immediately cutting the opposition down to four who didn’t stand a chance against us.

After acquiring their goods (including our first magic item – the awesome and essential B/X Staff of Healing!) we discovered what was behind that door they were guarding… a cave containing a rust monster! Fortunately, it turns out that a monk and a gibbering mouther working in tandem are more than enough to handle a solitary weapon and armour destroying creature.

Beyond the rust monster and it’s treasure, we come across a room with four braziers and a horde of strange four-legged insectoid beasties (Locust Myrmidons from Rafael Chandler’s Teratic Tome). The beasties themselves were easy kills, but as they were slaughtered they let out a mass of putrid goo that quickly rendered the monk hors de combat (everyone within 10′ of a dying myrmidon had to make a save vs poison or take 1 Con damage for 1d8 minutes), and seriously reduced the Con of the other front line combatants (primarily the centaur). And to top it off, the little blighters were treasure-free!

After a short break to heal the Con damage, we continued forth bravely to discover that there are things just as annoying to talk to as Gurgli the Hungry. We were assaulted in a small dead-end chamber by a pack of 18 gibberlings that just wouldn’t shut up. For the first time in this sortie, we also had to deal with some serious combat damage, as 18 foes is a bit of a pile-on. Fortunately the staff of healing made it so we were equipped to continue when we would have been forced to turn back with all these wounds. And it was worth it. The two stone containers in the room of gibberlings seemed empty at first, but tricky magics were actually hiding some mighty treasure – a pair of ancient carved jade collars worth 2,100 gp each, and a portable hole!

A portable hole!

Fear the gibbering mouther, for he intends to fill the hole full of marbles!

Further exploration was equally fruitful – a battle with a pair of flinds not only got us  some flind-bars to learn how to use (the assassin is looking at this tool / toy quite appreciatively), but their loot included a magical sword! Not to be taken for granted, a pair of giant toads on a lower level of the catacombs also had a magical sword. This expedition has us swimming in loot!

Totally excited by our finds, we pushed on into a room full of kobolds. A room full of kobolds with surprise. 32 of them. This battle was less fruitful, with the centaur being mobbed from all sides because of his larger size and the danger of his magic sword. He only survived in the end because of judicious use of healing magics, and no one in the group was unscathed except the monk who seemed to float above and between the kobolds during the brawl. And then the monk failed to spot the contact poison on the kobolds’ treasure – while it didn’t kill him, it nearly did. Collecting the thousands of copper pieces they were guarding into the portable hole, we limped back to the surface (but not through the Ill Manticore, for we had discovered a shaft leading up to an old disused well on the Street of Black Harpies).

the-madness-beneath-map-expedition-2

(The map above is just the first level of the expedition – we only went to two rooms on level 2 so I’ll post level 2 when we get back from our third expedition… if we get back!)

This time the rewards were far greater – 1,776 XP per character. Enough for Razpudding the Mad Monk to level up, but leaving everyone else at level 1 (the hazards of multiclassing).

Once again the demon-worshiping half-orc assassin found a collector to purchase the ancient coins at full value, and while we lost 30% of the value converting our gems to their liquid value, our score of incredible jewelry managed to get the attention of a trader who was willing to buy the collection at full value.