Picking back up in the dungeon, our heroes have ventured deep into level 1 of Quasqueton with the game paused near the throne room.
Continuing their explorations, the party discovers several empty rooms including the room of the apparent captain of the guard and discovers stairs down, but decides not to take them just yet. Moving through more hallways they eventually come to a huge irregularly shaped room with numerous pools spaced regularly throughout.
Splitting up they each move to a different pool and begin examining the contents. Sniffs are taken, arrows are poked into various liquids, and some deductions are made, many correct, some not. There is a pool of cold water, a pool of wine (which almost puts the dwarf to sleep but he is able to fight it off), a pool of acid, a pool of green slime, a pool of dry ice - all are checked and nothing terrible happens. The one more pool is poked with a sword...
The non-carpet-carrying henchman uses his greatsword to prod a pool that has some swirling shapes within. It rears up and slaps him with a pseudopod, slaying him instantly, sword clattering across the floor. The thing in the pool slurps out of the basin it had occupied and engulfs the body, which begins to dissolve. The rest of the party begins to back towards the door while Kiran the fighter jumps in to attack the creature.This was not a wise move as Kiran had been wounded previously. Slicing into it with his greatsword, Kiran sees the creature split in two. One of the blobs stays on the hireling's body while the other strikes at Kiran, blorping on to him and slaying him as well. The party suffers complete morale failure at this point and runs for the door, fleeing out the door, out of the dungeon, and back to the keep.
I have never managed to have a party get into the Room of Pools in B1 before so I was very happy to see them do it. At some point in the past I had placed the Ochre Jelly(#21) into the dry pool and I decided to keep it there, figuring there should be one terror-inducing monster on the first level and this was definitely the place to do it. Much time was spent checking pools and testing what happened to arrows dipped into them - very refreshing and not something you see a lot of in more modern skill-laden editions - as each character (and the help) went to one pool to check it out. The initial appearance of the Ochre Jelly rattled the apprentices and they were uncertain whether to fight or run, but when it killed the fighter the rout was on.
I was glad the hireling was the one examining that pool - it gave me the chance to demonstrate the jelly's power without insta-killing a PC, always nice when it works out. The warning wasn't heeded though and so another PC paid the price. Some lessons are harder to learn than others.
I did award XP for the last 2 sessions back at the keep and the Thief is now 3rd level and most of the other characters are 2nd, except for the Elf. I allowed the surviving man-at-arms to level up to a 1st level fighter and become a henchman, making him a little more survivable for the future.