Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Apprentices vs. Stonehell - Session 3

Our heroes remain one elf ranger, one human cleric, one human monk, and one halfling assassin. Yes, the cleric survived the last session with a roll on the "what happens next" table, just needing some extra time to heal up from his vicious beetle-bite.

Heading out from the camp-cave they explored last session, the party moved along the right-hand (north) side of the canyon. Exploring the next visible cave entrance, things seem fine until the ranger spots mountain lion tracks. Knowing that's a pretty tough customer they decided to move on.

The next cave on the north face has a waterfall pouring out of it and down into a steaming pool. Quite a bit of time is spent discussing who and how to climb up to the opening - how good are our skills? How much rope do we have? How steep is the slope? Eventually this debate is settled and the party ascends the hillside. Now the debate is over entering the cave - some want to sneak but realize that the entire cave mouth is underwater as it pours forth down the hill, making stealth a much trickier proposition. It's also hot. There's some talk about wrapping chainmail in a blanket but the water complicates this solution. Eventually they decide to quit worrying about stealth and just sloshed into the dark, steamy cave.

Inside there was room around the edges to get out of the water. As they were entering there was also some discussion over light sources. As the rest of the group checked the cave the ranger started poking around the edges of the pool with a 10' pole and eventually detected something odd on the bottom of the pool, but could not see anything due to the heat of the water - it was just one big glowing hot spot to his infravision and torches were not showing much.

The monk was quickly nominated to go for an investigatory swim and took some burn damage jumping in but mastered the pain and continued on. He discovered a brass hemisphere at the bottom of the pool with no visible edges and no place to get a good hold. As he was feeling around he also realized that it felt like the water was coming out of this metal object, even though there was no spigot or opening of any kind. Intrigued but unable to move the thing he returned to the party and described what he found. Uncertain of the  significance of this find the party decided to head out and continue their survey of the valley.

The next opening was a carved stone doorway that led to an empty room, but exploring this triggered a low growl from the next room. Approaching, the party discovered a raccoon huddled in the corner. It turned to face them and was foaming at the mouth! Then it attacked, completely failing to harm the cleric's armored leg, and the party failed to hit it as it scrambled among them. Then the assassin lined up his blade and skewered the mad beast, killing it in a single stroke and ending it's misery.

Continuing to explore the party found a fairly extensive complex of rooms. Most were empty but there was a stone throne in one with an open pit in front of it. There was a stone table in another, behind a secret door, and they found some hidden treasure in it. One other room had a sandbag trap and no apparent treasure so they emptied out the sand onto the floor and left a message scrawled in it expressing their displeasure at anyone who would trap an empty room.

At this point there was a pause in the action - more next time!

DM Notes: This was a longer session than last time and a lot of fun even though there was not a lot of combat - it was a good reminder of the fun to be had with the "exploration" part of the game.

The mountain lion lair was empty, but they showed good instincts here in avoiding it.

The waterfall cave was an exercise in reminding them that there are not a lot of skills in this game - just tell me what you want to do and we will see if it makes sense. After the climbing was worked out the next debate was over sneaking with no sneak skill - which I pointed out that they had a monk and an assassin and  the ranger and cleric were not going to have a better chance than they would. For whatever reason they were very concerned with this and then totally dropped it. Then we had a discussion about light and whether someone could hold a torch in a shield hand - the answer here is yes, until combat starts - and who should carry it etc. We also had our first usage of a 10' pole! A very sensible one! 

There is a story about the brass hemisphere that emits hot water but there was no way they were going to figure it out this early. We will see if they remember it later on. The monk diving into hot water and trying to move the metal object spurred a quick review of the opening credits to "Kung Fu" and some speculation if he had tattoos before or after or if he now just had burn scars on the inside of his arms and whether they could find some aloe in the valley.

The battle with the raccoon lasted all of two rounds and was the only combat in the whole session. Best line after the fight: 

"I'm going to go check his bed" 
"What bed? This isn't Narnia, he doesn't have a bunch of little raccoon-sized furniture in here."

This earned me an annoyed look from the birthday boy that turned into a snicker as the brother took up the theme and started throwing in his own narnia contributions. It was pretty funny after this rather rapid fight.

Exploring the the rest of the place brought back the opening doors and searching for secret doors parts of the rules. The stone table ("no there's not a lion strapped to it" - pause, cackles) provided the only treasure of the night. 

The sandbag trap really annoyed them as it was at the end of a series of empty rooms on a night with one combat and one small treasure:

 "So it's a bag full of sand? On the end of a hanging rope tied to the door?" 

-Quick checks for secret doors, searches for treasure, nothing is found -

"Who would do that?!"

So they emptied it out and wrote a message in common as described, and decided they would check back every once in a while to see if anyone answered.

It was a lot of fun but I'm hoping they actually get to the main dungeon next time and start really digging in to the meat of the adventure.


Michael Curtis said...

Hee hee hee. Another perplexed and angry party runs afoul of the sandbag.

Blacksteel said...

Yes sir, and I'd chalk it up to 'teenagers' but I suspect some of my grown up parties in the past would have felt the same way. Some of my teenage ones too most likely.

Your mighty dungeon has been a lot of fun for an occasionally conversion-weary DM. Thanks!