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Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Exploring the Isle of Dread, session three

(SPOILER WARNING: If you intend to play the Isle of Dread, you probably shouldn’t read any further!)

Picking up immediately where session two had left off… Stripe (Rakasta) had quaffed a potion of giant strength and thrown a bolder through two successive walls before putting his rampage to a halt. While the rest of the party dedicated themselves to looting the body of their comrade Otis (Dwarf-3), Stripe examined his immediate surroundings on the other side of the giant defaced and now-smashed head worshipness. On the wall to his left, he spied a lever on the wall next to him.

Now… being a cat… it was of course in character to stupidly investigate these sorts of things. Justina’s character smelled trouble, however and argued that the primitive, tribal creature would not necessarily understand such mechanisms. I ruled that one of those (optional) attribute checks would govern this situation… and Stripe’s player failed the roll. However… Stripe’s player was determined to see this through… and thanks to the fact that we were short one player, she was actually playing both Rakasta at once. So… “Skinny” pads over to the lever, makes an intelligence check and… pulls it.

This was going to sting. But would the mechanism still work after a boulder had smashed through the wall? (There is nothing in either the rules or the module that could help me determine this impartially.) I ruled that it would still be operating on a five or six on a D6 roll… and a five came up. The lever is pulled… the mechanism is still working… and into the room where the rest of the party is… there came a burst of flame!

Looking at the size of the flame as specified in the module, I ruled it would either hit one or two people. Dio (Dwarf-3) took four dice damage, but made his saving throw and cut the total in half. Trevor (Fighter-3) was not so lucky. Having just picked up a +1 sword off the body of Otis, he was completely and totally incinerated. (His player took Skinny from the player that was running the two Rakasta. You know… it kinda bothered me that we had someone running two characters at once anyway…!)

The mildly singed dwarf Dio picked up the shiny sword+1 from Trevor’s body, muscled his way around the corner and explored the far passage with the two Rakasta. They came to a wall that was clearly of a different style of stonework than the previous advanced Atlantean-style stuff– this was much closer to a Mayan look, maybe. Dio set to work removing the wall. I think the rest of the party focused on guarding their rear– the group had not “cleared” the previous section, so they were wary of something coming up from behind. After an hour of game-time, the wall was cleared and the party reformed their marching order on the other side. They opted to send the scouts on ahead to check things out– the dwarf and the two Rakasta. The scouts went around the corner and on ahead into the darkness, when suddenly heard, “crumble… smash; whoosh– SPLASH!”

Rushing around the corner to see what had happened, the torch bearing set of party members saw that much of the passage had given way. The dwarf was down on the next level standing in a room with water right up at his chin. Stripe was on top of Skinny’s shoulders. The dwarf felt something move past his leg, while stripe leaned down into the water and managed to catch it– a blind cave-fish! The party was sufficiently rattled that they did not want to explore either the water-drenched region or the hallway any further. They climbed up a rope that was attached to a grappling hook and the party went back to explore a side-room that they had bypassed.

The party unanimously agreed to send Han Yolo ahead to search for traps. Han crept incredibly silently down the stairs and then found a trap… by setting it off! A trap door opened beneath her him and she he fell with a thud down to the next level into a room with strange green and red stone statues. There was something unearthly about those statues… but that didn’t keep Han from limping over to one of a hobgoblin to attempt to remove a small ruby from its base. While working on that, Han discovered the spitting cobras that were in the room. One of them spit directly into her his eye, but she he made her his saving throw and thus avoided some horrible life-ruining effect.

The other players climbed down to fight the cobras. Dio had an IQ of 4 and his player had really keyed into that with his role playing. At the first report of a ruby down there, he’d *jumped* down taking the same amount of falling damage that Han had received. (“Well *that* sure helped to waste a healing spell,” someone remarked.) The party then lifted the portcullis and wedged a statue underneath it. They reset their marching order and went down the long hallway. The scouts passed by some large holes in the wall, but once the party heard scritching type sounds coming from them they waved torches around them and kept on moving. They assuredly did not want to engage any rodents of unusual size….

Turning the corner, they found a large hole in the floor. Someone dropped a torch down it and it dropped a heck of a long way down. The party sent the thief across it to listen at a door– he heard “glug glug” sounds. I actually made the thief roll to open the door; his player just so happened to make it. On the other side, the party saw a portcullis with a door on the other side of it. They also had the choice of going down some stairs toward where the “glug” sounds were emanating. The party argued about this for a bit. Should they explore the second level some more or should they continue on down into the depths. Lemmy (Magic-User-3) argued that it probably wasn’t a good idea to keep going down, but Justina (Cleric-3) swayed the party’s opinion towards continuing on down the steps. When the party got down there and saw the mudpots, someone mentioned that the black perl probably wasn’t down there in that weird place, but was probably in some kind of throne room or something somewhere. Justina *still* argued to continue on and the party collectively agreed to continue on.

The floor was extremely slick, so the players had their characters tie each other together. (They drew a zigzag through their marching order to represent the ties.) It wasn’t long before a geyser erupted and sprayed a character with scalding hot water. They went along the edge of a gigantic mud pot and came to a three-way intersection. One way led to a terrace which they opted not to climb. (“Probably nothing up there… and we don’t want to slip and fall into the mud-pots.”) While exploring the second way, there was a tremor. The party became rattled, thinking that something they had stepped on had triggered it. They navigated the third way, went through another branch in the path, and then stopped when they heard ominous sounds coming from far into the mud pot on their right.

Just on the edge of the their torchlight… the party saw a strange hippo-sized beast in the mud. It had a face like a star-mole. The players without torches fired missile weapons at it for several turns when… Drake (Cleric-3) suddenly started bashing on Justina with his mace. (Come to think of it, it was a little odd when he’d readied his mace instead of his sling the previous turn….) Reacting quickly, Justina and Lemmy immobilized Drake by looping their ropes around him and pulling tight! Meanwhile, at the front of the party, the two Rakasta turned on the rest of the party as well. Han Yolo pulled out his mirror and used that to distract the cat-men with a moving light. The Rakasta chased the light madly– evidently light-hating relex trumped whatever mind-control they were experiencing. Lemmy and Justina shoved Drake to the ground and pinned him with their boots.

The party kept shooting at the mud-mole creature throughout all of this… gradually getting up to about thirty points of damage. But the thing just wouldn’t die. Panic set in when Lemmy showed signs of being about to turn on the rest of the party. Even worse, in the previous turn the dwarf Dio had suddenly started shooting at Justina with his bow. Thinking fast, Justina jerked on the rope to pull the dwarf Dio off balance while falling on top of Lemmy. Dio fell into the mud pot and was boiled to death. Justina fell on Lemmy and shoved him down on top of Drake, managing to pin them both at once.

Whatever the mud-monster was, it disappeared under the mud. The party members shot at the last location that they has seen it… then hog tied the two Rakasta, Lemmy, and Drake. Only three sane party members were left now. Han Yolo (Thief-3), Justina (Cleric-3), and Steve Erwin (Fighter-1). These three decided to continue exploring– there just *had* to be some good loot down there somewhere, they thought. Meanwhile… Drake begged them to throw a tarp onto him and the other tied up party members, but he was ignored.

Sallying forth, the final trio came to a dead end. It was a wall. The path was narrow enough that they had to send Steve Erwin up by himself to examine the wall. They were sure there would be a secret door or something. It turned out that the ground was just a thin layer of crystallized minerals covering up a deadly hot spring. Steve fell down into the boiling waters. He was hurt, but was still alive. This was the point where the party decided this had to be a death trap and that there was nothing of value down by these mud pots. They decided to go back and try something else. But going back the way that they came, they blundered into the rest of their party members– who were now not only untied, but still intent on killing them!

I announced at this point– before a single die was rolled– that if a magic-user loses initiative and takes damage before his turn, then he cannot cast spells that round. (This is perhaps not exactly rules as written.) The side with the magic-user lost initiative and everyone on the other side tried to take Lemmy out. Lemmy took some damage and was reduced to tossing daggers instead of casting a game-ending Sleep spell.

There was a confusion of blows as melee ensued. Han Yolo took out the mirror and attempted the moving light trick again, this time leading the cat characters into the boiling mud pots. The cats (who reflexively hate the evil-light-of-hell more than anything else) dove after it. Though the burning hot mud damaging, it managed to knock some sense into them. As they attempted to scramble out of the mud pot, they were met with Justina and Steve Erwin, who kicked them in the face while screaming, “this… is… Sparta!” The Rakasta then back flipped back into the mud-pots where they met their demise.

Stunned, confused, and terrified… Justina, Han Yolo, and Steve Erwin quickly looted the bodies of their companions and then ran out of the dungeon as quickly as possible. They scrambled back up the terrace, when through the doorway and past the deep pit, down the hallway, under the portcullis with a statue wedged under it, up the grappling hook rope, up the stairs, back through the temple area, between the feet of the destroyed colossus, and back to their boats. Justina’s player said, “oh… my… God.” Other players immediately began rolling up new first level characters and arguing about how to plan the next delve. In response to a suggestion that they go back to their ship at Tanorora, it was indicated that they did NOT want to go back without the giant perl that was supposed to be here….

The Death Log:

Session 1:

  • Rex-Tum (Elf-2) — Gored by a triceratops in the swamp near the tar pits.

Session 2:

  • Tirantis Blackhawk (Magic-User-3) — Fell off the side of a volcano on the central plateau.
  • Otis (Dwarf-3) — Impaled with the spear of awesomeness by the bone-armor wearing warrior in the temple with the huge, defaced head of worshipfulness.

Session 3:

  • Trevor (Fighter-3) — Incinerated by a fiery blast that emerged from the defaced head of worshipfulness when Skinny pulled the lever that Stripe found on the other side of the smashed walls in the temple area immediately after picking up a sword+1 off of Otis’s body.
  • Dio (Dwarf-3) — Boiled to death in a mud pot after getting mind controlled by a star-faced mud-mole monster and then getting shoved off the path by Justina the cleric.
  • Lemmy (Magic-User-3) — Head smashed in by Steve Erwin with a sword+1 after getting mind controlled by a star-faced mud-mole monster, hog-tied by the party, and mysteriously set free.
  • Drake (Cleric-3) — Cut down in a melee by Steve Erwin with a sword+1 after getting mind controlled by a star-faced mud-mole monster, hog-tied by the party, and mysteriously set free.
  • Stripe & Skinny (Rakasta) — Maneuvered into a pit of boiling mud by Han Yolo’s moving-light-of-evil and then kicked in the face by Justina and Steve Erwin, back-flipping through the air in a slow motion movement of acrobatic perfection… after getting mind controlled by a star-faced mud-mole monster, hog-tied by the party, and mysteriously set free.

Note: The sword+1 is connected directly or indirectly to the deaths of Otis, Trevor, Dio, Lemmy, and Drake.

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6 responses to “Exploring the Isle of Dread, session three

  1. Wayne May 6, 2013 at 9:11 am

    That was an impressively greedy and bloodthirsty party! haha. I enjoy reading a well-written adventure recap.

  2. Brett Slocum May 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I really liked the the Rakastas got kicked back in the boiling mud, even though they had recovered from the mind control.

  3. Han Yolo May 9, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Well, a thief with a ridiculous amount of HP really is the best trap-finder. I guess.

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