With five party members at level two, a thief at level three, and just that one mage still at first level, the party was ready to finally cut loose with its collective muscle. The cleric finally had a spell. Finally! Fighters could potentially double cleave. One of the mages could cast two sleep spells. One character actually had enough hit points to allow them to take a solid hit and keep on fighting. This felt like a tremendous amount of combat power. The big thing complicating their tactics was that one of the players wanted to take his 3000 gold piece custom plaque and set it up by some stairs they’d found to the second level. Etched in brass were the following words: “WARNING: Statues beyond this point will animate and attack you when you attempt to pass.“
The players argued about where to go and what to do and finally decided to go check out these stairs on their found map that they’d never actually been to. They left the commemorative plaque at the main entrance so they wouldn’t be encumbered. Making their way through the main intersection of the first level, they encountered a group of silvery skeletons which they easily dispatched with their brand new Aozth-fueled molotov cocktails. They made their way through the scorched passages and then came to an unexplored room in the caves area. They found many spider webs with scads of web-wrapped humanoid husks. They opted to burn them up and search for treasure and were attacked by giant spiders.
Now, the party didn’t know how many they were up against at first. It looked like it’d just be one which was no problem. Except there was a problem. The party was not in formation during the initial attack, so the monster went after The Artful Dodger. I don’t think the bite was enough to kill this third level thief, but he failed his poison saving throw in any case.
Now… as the players worked through their initiative order, it was collectively realized that I hadn’t been requiring people to declare their spells before their initiative rolls. (Yigg’s player remembered the rule as she was debating his move.) This lead to some discussion as to whether Raph would be forced to wait until next turn to throw her sleep spell or not. I can’t remember what we decided. In any case, two more spiders showed up and Raph ended up failing to roll 16+ in an attempt to use healing proficiencies and herbs to save the thief from the poison. The party was dismayed by this utterly pointless death of one of the two remaining characters that had managed to survive every single delve of the campaign. The sixty-seven coper pieces they found only further served to disgust them.
Demoralized by this turn of events, the players decided to go back to the main entrance, collect their plaque, and then go down to the second level in order to set it up in the desired location. As they did this, they heard voices from near to those double doors:
“What is this thing…?”
“I dunno it wasn’t here yesterday.”
“What do you think it means?”
The players realized that it was a competing party of adventurers coming in on a sortie of their own. Thinking fast, Raph cast her sleep spell and the entire opposing party was knocked out at once. The players checked out their competition, considered looting their bodies, but decided to leave them alone. They didn’t want to kill them and they didn’t want to risk fighting them, so they just left them there, hoping that they’d be safe in the front entrance area.
The party then made the incredibly long march to the stairway down to the third level. Miraculously, no wandering monsters chose to molest them. They then came back and again… nothing seemed to bother them. Coming back to the main entrance, I rolled up the duration that they non-player party would have been asleep. From that I determined the number of wandering monster rolls they would have had to eat. Rolling the six-sided dice for that… a single six came up. I announced that I knew exactly what that was. I told the players that the faces and fingers of all eight of them looked to have been eaten away with practically no struggle. The equipment and the bones were all intact and left behind by whatever did it. Raph took the bloody spell book which had a single spell in it– Spider Climb. They also found three hundred g.p. in with the bodies and I think some of the players replenished their supply of torches.
“We did this,” somebody noted.
“They’re dead because of us.”
The players were genuinely sorry for their part in this. They drug the non-player party members out of the dungeon and burned their bodies rather than take them back to town. This was all a bit disconcerting, nevertheless the players took great satisfaction from having erected their plaque down on the second level.
Note: the party had 17 wineskins filled with Azoth. A little of if it has been used in combat.
(M2) Raph — attended all sorties
XP: 177 + 43 + 53 + 175 + 442 + 403 + 15 + 192 + 668 + 874 + 69 = 3111 * 1.1 = 3422
Gold: 74 … 233 (???)
Banked: 2600 XP for next character (1400 of that was spent on weird recreational drugs)
Notable Equipment: Awesome War Dog named Elsa that now has custom chain mail armor, “Book of Fighting”, Silver Broach of Unbelief, Termaxian Lanyard, An NPC spellbook with the formula Spider Climb, and a fizzy green potion of Flight
Special Abilities: Can cast Resist Cold once a day!
(S2) Yigg-Tsu — Joined as of sortie number six.
XP: 403 + 15 + 192 + 668 + 874 + 69 = 2221 x 1.1 = 2443
Banked: 1500 XP for next character (500 gold spent on a special pow-wow funeral for Bernard the snake.)
Note 1: Dropped from 6 hit points to 3 hit points permanently due to the weird pillars of Truthiness.
Note 2: Yigg now has his totem animal again!
Notable Equipment: Sparkly Pink Potion of Levitation
(M1) Oleant — Joined as of sortie number seven.
XP: 15 + 192 + 668 + 874 + 69 = 1818 x 1.1 = 1999
Banked: 3000 XP banked from making a special custom plaque.
Notable Equipment: Potion of Healing for returning Dorian’s body to the church.
(C2) Eldred — Joined as of sortie number eight.
XP: 192 + 668 + 874 + 69 = 1803 x 1.1 = 1983
Notable Equipment: War Hammer +1 (Dwarven make, adamantine), Thulian chain mail (better AC, lighter weight)
(F2) Angus — Joined as of sortie number eight.
Starting XP: 500 (from the book o’ fighting!)
Earned XP: 192 + 668 + 874 + 69 = 1803 x 1.1 = 1983 + 500 = 2483
Gold: 233 … 39 (???)
Banked: 1600 XP banked via riotous revelry with prostitutes in Adamas
Notable Equipment: Cursed Black Dagger of the Screaming Goblin Head
(F2) Jaina Yolo — Joined as of sortie number eight.
Starting XP: 950 (500 * .9 from Abimelech drunkenly attempting to donate cattle to the church of Tyche, and 500 from reading the book of fighting)
Earned XP: 192 + 668 + 874 + 69 = 1803 x 1.1 = 1983 + 950= 2933
Banked: 500 banked from attempting to make nice with the priestesses of Caint. 1000 XP banked from attempting to find out more about how to get to and from the setting where the Isle of Dread is. Total banked XP is 1500!
Rest in peace:
(C) Virgil: Killed by a training automaton on level 1 of Dwimmermount during the second sortie. (Returned to the church in Muntberg for a proper Typhonian burial)
(F) Shard: Killed by a silver skeleton on level 2 of Dwimmermount during the fourth sortie.
(C) Dorian: Killed by touching the six pillars of Truthiness on level 2 of Dwimmermount during the seventh sortie. (Returned to the church in Muntburg for a proper Typhonian burial.)
(F) Brock: Killed by hobgoblins on level 2 of Dwimmermount during the seventh sortie. (Left in the dungeon!)
(F) Abimelek: Killed by hobgoblins on level 2 of Dwimmermount during the seventh sortie (Left in the Dungeon!)
(F) Bogdar the Tolerant: Killed by a hobgoblin on level 1 of Dwimmermount during the ninth sortie. (Not sure what happened to the body.)
(P) Jisme the Priestess: Consumed by a Green Slime on level 1 of Dwimmermount during the party’s tenth sortie. This was her first and only foray into the dungeon. She died wallowing in a pool of Azoth while attempting to cast Purify Food & Drink. Her death consumed a total of 950 XP that had previously been banked for her.
(T3) The Artful Dodger: poisoned by a Crab Spider on level 1 of Dwimmermount during the eleventh sortie. The guy lived through an epic total of ten sorties. His body was burned to prevent it from being defiled. He will be dearly missed.