Thursday, 7 July 2016

Ruins by the Lake Part III, being the 9th report from the Tower of Zelligar campaign...

It's been a long time in the gestation this post; even  longer than it took the boys to arrange another session of their campaign. Yes, they finally ventured back into the catacombs under the ruins, in October last year.

The previous session - back in May 2015 - saw Josef the Thief sliced up by a scything blade trap. So we rolled up another character, and waited for an opportunity to introduce him.

The rest of the party made their way into the room with the trapped door, mostly by trusting their insanely high Armour Classes to keep them safe from the blade. Inside was a small Kobold guard-post. The two Dwarves speak Kobold of course, so a very shouty fight developed with a mixture of threats and psychological warfare.

After a messy bloodbath, the two surviving Kobolds surrendered. Once again the Chaotic Dwarves decided to torture the prisoners in order to get 'information' (though what they think they're going to learn, I'm not so sure), so this time, I had the Kobolds realise what was going on and take up the fight again, but to no avail. The party butchered them and searched the bodies. Some small treasure here, but the party is failing to get anywhere because they're not necessarily using their heads. They still haven't searched the Goblins properly that they encountered a few rooms ago.

Frustrated by the lack of progress they search again wherever they've already been - and hey presto, in the room where the Goblin-corpses are they find the key to the stone door they couldn't smash down.

Venturing through that door, they come into a room that seems to have been some sort of Goblin headquarters: and here was one of the few times I've seen the guys in real fear for the mayhem that might be about to break loose. Rising from the jumble of furs in the middle of the room was a figure. Not a Wraith or a Vampire or even an Ogre, no, but something that, even on its lonesome, was enough to put the frighteners on these burly lads (four of them, anyway, Josef's player hadn't managed to get his new character introduced yet). The figure that arose, sleepily burping and scratching itself, was an Orc.

OK, we're Old School, and we've all read all the monster stats a gazillion times. We know that in practical terms the difference between an Orc and a Goblin is not much. And four Goblins are certainly more troublesome than one Orc. But the players genuinely seemed nervous and tense.

The combat was brutal and swift. The PCs took the Orc apart in pretty short order, and seemed mightily relieved at how lucky they'd been when they did. I mean, really, maybe they just don't know. It seems that they think Orcs are much tougher than they actually are.

A bit of looting followed, part of which involved finding a chest containing four clay figurines in the shape of dragons. Around this time, as (former) Josef's player had been hanging around a while, and the party showed no signs of moving on, I told them that an Elf (for that is what Josef's player had rolled up, an Elf called Ronoc - he's been separated from the rest of his party) had approached them down the corridor on the other side of the room to the door they'd entered..

Bromeen's player decided that he was going to be a dick. "I attack him!" he shouted; a look of dismay passed across Ronoc's player's face. So Bromeen rolled to attack (it took Ronoc by surprise - hell it took everyone by surprise) and the result was that Ronoc took a battle-axe (or was it a longsword?) to the face. Cue, collapsing and having to make a CON roll to survive as the rest of the party tried to staunch his wounds...

Players can be massive twerps on occasion.

Deciding that they'd fortify the room and wait it out for a while led to them to start examining the clay dragons more closely. This included Bromeen taking one and smashing it into the floor. Not throwing it at the wall, mind, but taking it and pounding it into the floor without letting go.

The dragons should perhaps have given them a clue. These figurines are actually vessels for an alchemical concoction that resembles dragon-fire. Cue Bromeen bursting into flames (his hand anyway) and losing the majority of his hit-points...

That's where they left matters when they packed up to go. They may soon organise another evening as exams have finished and I've finished work on my thesis for the moment. So we will see ...

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