Monday, 19 February 2018

Rift City session 7

The party was joined by two new members for this session - one the result of Sven's player needing a new PC (Daisy, a Halfling) and another as a result of a new player joining us for this session (Karensa, an Elf). So that meant the party this time around was Daisy (Halfling), Karensa (Elf), Berg (Dwarf), Gwynthor (Cleric), Galen (Elf), Gibbet (Thief), Polly (Magic User), Frost (Fighter) and Cnut (Fighter).

First thing was trying to get back to the general area where the party was before. Their map, because these caves aren't in straight lines and 90° angles, is 'a bit wonky'. Corridors don't necessarily join up when they should. But it was OK, they got there.

The first encounter they had was with some Kobolds. There have been several groups of Kobolds in this area before now. This is because this area of the cave-system is the base of two groups, the Orc-Kobold alliance, and the Death Cult with its undead minions. These two factions are in alliance, though neither really trusts the other. They are united however against another dungeon faction that the PCs haven't really encountered yet, the Goblin-Drow axis. Of course there are no Drow/Dark Elves in B/X or BECMI, but that doesn't really matter. These Drow are Chaotic Elves who live underground and like spiders. They have corrupted the local Goblin leaders to their spider-cult, and formed an alliance with them against the Orcs.

The Goblins that the PCs have met so far refused to accept the new Elvo-Arachnoid order and were driven out. They have in fact been exiles eking out a marginal existence in the spaces between the other factions. The Orcs don't really care however if the Goblins worship Maglubiyet or Lolth, they regard both groups as enemies. The Death Cult (the Cult of the Wraith Princess, centred around necromancy and ancestor-worship) is also opposed to the cult of Lolth.

So what it boils down to is two main groupings: Orcs-Kobolds-Acolytes-Undead against Goblins/Hobgoblins-Elves-Spiders. If the PCs venture further south they will probably run into the Goblins. If they go further west, they'll run into Cultists and Undead, then more Kobolds and Orcs.

Going down a level inside the caves will lead (from the Goblin caves) to more Goblins and some Bugbears, and also some weirdness that I've barely started to comprehend at the moment... a re-skinned evil Treant that is controlling some of the Goblins via its drugged fruit. From the Orc caves going deeper is liable to lead to more undead but also some Ogres.

However, there are other ways in - the cave-system is built into the side of a valley and has maybe 30 entrances, with those nearer the bottom of the valley being the more dangerous. The PCs have so far entered about 5 of these entrances, all on the 'left' (uphill) side of the road. There are more caverns to explore on the left, but there are also caverns below the road to the right. Further on, the road loops back at a lower level, providing access to the lower-level caves where it's rumoured a Minotaur (possibly, in this campaign world, a 'Minrotaur', as it may be named after the legendary Minros, once the king of the Minrothad Islands) and a Dragon dwell, among other powerful monsters.

But at the moment, the caverns the PCs are exploring are Level One caves on the left (South, up-hill) side of the road. So, Orcs, Kobolds, Skeletons and Acolytes are going to be what they run into up there. and indeed this is pretty much the roll-call of monsters that they encountered.

First, the Kobolds: skirmishers moved back by the Orcish chief into the previously-cleared caves. They didn't wait to be massacred and when the party dropped a few, the rest ran off after a very failed morale check. The party pursued - but the Kobolds were tricksy, leading them to a guard-room of Acolytes. The Kobolds vanished - somewhere - while the PCs fought the Acolytes. It wasn't ever going to be a fair fight - there were only 5 of the cultists (in plate and shield to be sure) but there were 9 in the party, also for the most part in plate and shield. And the Acolytes had no missile weapons or magic. So the party managed to see them off pretty quickly. They then stripped the bodies and piled up the armour hoping to take it home to sell.

In a nearby room - Skeletons! This is part of the complex patrolled by the Death Cult after all. Necromancy isn't just a fun family pastime for these guys, its their sacred duty. Until all the cultists are driven off the undead will just keep coming round here. This is something like the 5th encounter with undead the PCs have had in 7 sessions, and like all the other groups of Skeletons, the party made short work of these too. Skeletons are much less likely to fail morale checks of course, but that just means they are stupider than Kobolds. They haven't got any brains you see.

After smashing the Skellies it was back to the job at hand. The Kobolds however had fled, so the party made the quite sensible decision I think to go a different way - away from the part where everyone was warned they were coming. So, they crept down a corridor they'd not explored before - a properly-constructed straight corridor this one, running due west. After about 80' or so, there was a turning to the right and just past that a door to the left. They checked out the door to the left first - Orcs! Several of them! I can't actually remember off hand how many, 5 I think, but enough to cause a temporary headache anyway. Particularly to Berg, who got herself killed. Luckily the party dispatched the Orcs and tried first aid which meant Berg's condition was upgraded from 'dead' to 'very poorly'. Daisy was also injured in the affray. She and Berg stayed in the room with the dead Orcs while the rest of the party went round the corned to check out the other passage.

There was another door there - Skeletons! In a room with some stone coffins and a few more dead bodies (luckily not more undead). The PCs smashed these Skellies too, and looted the room (including a stash of silver hidden under a flagstone), then went back to Berg and Daisy.

Finding out that Berg was at least conscious they made the decision to leave while they were all still alive. Pausing only to pick up the armour, they were attacked by Fire Beetles (not part of the factions in the dungeon amazingly, just some wandering wildlife)!

Fire Beetles have been on the party's hit-list since hearing a rumour that a MU was paying cash for 'interesting monster parts'. So they harvested as many fire-glands as they could and took them home too. Polly the Magic User was particularly pleased as she's been trying to find some monster parts for weeks to trade with Gisuintha the Magic User. As a professional courtesy, I suppose.

Just time to divide the loot back at the city and tally up the XP, and the session was over... who knows what will happen next time?


  1. I didn't have your blog on my blogroll. I just added it. Thank you for checking in. I haven't read this post yet - will read it presently.

    1. Thanks Scott - I think I found you from Jens D's amazing 'Disoriented Ranger'. I will be looking through your blog too. So, nice to meet you!