The boys have been at it again - they've ventured back under Threshold to see if they can finish flushing the bugs out of the tunnels under Old Beren's warehouse, and claim the pitiful reward that he agreed to give them. Instead of finding any bugs this time though, they found a whole different heap of adventure.
To backtrack - the last session saw them crawling out of the tunnels under Beren's warehouse with a bag of giant insect parts (3 three dead Robber Flies and the luminous glands of 3 Fire Beetles) while Bjorn (a Dwarf) and Wizard (a Magic User) vomited profusely and Bromeen (another Dwarf) didn't (having been injured to the point of death before Bjorn and Wizard were bitten by Giant Centipedes).
So, to this latest session. The trio went looking for Old Beren, who had after all promised them money, but didn't find him. Instead they bumped into Fotri the Dwarven alchemist-sage, who had asked them to be on the look out for interesting insect parts. He bought the 9 luminous glands off them for 4GP apiece, so that made them happy. Then he told them where they may be able to find a shop open to sell them some torches.
Bromeen (who doesn't have a very high Charisma) attempted to buy a sword from the shopkeeper (weapons must be licensed in Threshold, and Bromeen's sword had been disolved by the Green Slime, meaning the Guard could potentially arrest him for not producing a licenced weapon). I thought maybe the shopkeeper was corrupt enough to have some illegal weapons for sale so I rolled the reaction dice. A double-1. Hmmm. 'Immediate attack'. Not so likely in a shop I thought but not a good result (Bromeen's -1 CHA modifier seemed a bit superfluous at this point). So I told him that the shopkeeper started screaming at him and tried to throw him out.
There was nothing for it - the party made its way to the Town Hall, which is where the Town Guard hang out. Bromeen started to explain his story but the Guardsman decided it was above his jurisdiction and called the Captain (the same who dispatched one of the PCs in a previous session). Somewhat disinclined to believe stories of weird beasties on the Island, the Guard Captain asked for proof. Luckily, the PCs still had the slightly-mashed corpses of the 3 Robber Flies, which they duly showed the Captain. Time to roll for reaction again... and it came up double-6. Even with Bromeen's lack of interpersonal skills, the Captain was fair convinced. He agreed to write out Bromeen a new certificate and provide a choice of armament - hurriedly rolling (consulting the random magic weapons and taking away the magic...), the Captain checked a chest of unclaimed weapons and found a normal sword, a warhammer, a dagger and some crossbow bolts. Bromeen took the sword - for a deposit of 10GP. But, given that he could potentially have been arrested, that probably wasn't so bad.
So newly re-armed (and be-torched... and yes I have seen the youtube videos posted recently about torches) the PCs ventured back into the caves and corridors that riddle the north end of the island. This time, instead of turning left (east) they went right at the bottom of the stairs.
This is the map that I'm using, a terrible barely-readable print-out, but such it is. The first couple of sessions were spent exploring the eastern and southern caverns of this little complex, all the way round to the square room half-way up the west side, where Wizard and Bjorn were bitten by the Giant Centipedes.
So this time, they found themselves in a long corridor with doors right and left. Checking the door to their right, they found what appeared to be a recently-used bedroom, where there was little treasure beyond a bag of silver pieces. Bromeen pocketed them, somewhat to the consternation of the others, who wondered if Old Beren was such a miser he slept down here and the money-bag belonged to him.
Then they tried the other door - I told them that the small room they'd entered looked like it had only been used to get from the corridor into the room beyond, and that searching the desk brought no results. So, they kicked the next door in and in jump Bjorn (AC2 and Warhammer), Bromeen (AC4 and Sword) and Wizard (AC8 and a dagger, but also a Magic Missile) - surprising the gaggle of evil cultists who were hiding out down there (the party knew they were evil because they had on black armour and their shields had a bright green snake on them)...
The PCs had the advantage. They were at least armed and standing up. But there were 5 armoured dudes (and dudesses, evil in this case being an equal-ops employer) sitting about having a post-evil debrief. "What are they going to do?" thought the party. "Intruders! Get them!" shouted the Evil Cleric. Two of the evil dudes were dead in the first round of combat, one to Bromeen's sword and one to the Magic Missile. Bjorn, the tank of the party, wounded another.
And then the fun began...
... because the leader of the cultists - who were let's face it severely depleted now - stood back and started muttering. A glow surrounded her as she completed her Protection spell.Then the three remaining clerics fought the party to a standstill, even given that one of them fell in another couple of rounds, not to the sword or warhammer of the Dwarven warriors, but to the thrown dagger of the Magic User. In fact, what with the Magic Missile and the thrown dagger, Wizard managed to dispatch 4 of the 5 (two were injured and Wizard delivered the coup-de-grace). The mental image of Wizard dancing round the room (he has quite a high DEX for a Magic User) grabbing the dagger from the head of a snake-cultist and flinging it at another, was pretty groovy.
But for poor Bjorn, Tank of this Parish, one evil Acolyte was enough. In a toe-to-toe fight he didn't manage to land one blow successfully on the cleric fighting him (he'd likely have killed the fellow if he had done), and took three mace-strikes in return. Despite the fact that he had 9hp and his opponent had 5hp, the Acolyte had the best of it, and Bjorn fell, wounded to death (for a given value of 'death'). The Acolyte fell with the MU's knife in the back of his neck, and then Bromeen and Wizard started binding Bjorn's wounds. Bjorn did make his CON roll; he now has 1hp, one less point of CON than he had before, and can start the recovery process. So they hauled him out of there and back to the tavern they've been using as a base. It's probably going to take two days of bed-rest to get him back up to strength. But if the right people hear that the PCs have wiped out a gaggle of snake-cultists? There are at least three cults active in town that hate the snake-god. Bromeen may, possibly, get a little more help if they get to know soon enough...