“These salt-soaked caverns are teeming with pelagic nightmares – they must be flushed out!”
Donella’s stay with the group did not last, and as such, she was written out pretty quickly. However, this session was also the introduction for Ramar , Matt’s new character. After giving out some item cards and loot from the previous session, the next one starts…
- The group leave The Maiden’s Fancy and their buddies at the thieve’s guild, returning to the Duke’s manor to rest for the night. They have a restful night and a rest devoid of dreams thanks to exhaustion… or other reasons, perhaps?
- Ziggy and Weezl head down in the morning for breakfast, where they find Speck in completely different attire (with an additional spellbook) and a focused demeanour. The young man is still a bit hungover but is still steeled to face the day- including their teleportation to a location near the town, Shelter.
- During the meal, the adventurers see Dirke and the boy is cleaned up somewhat and has been doing work for Jaspitt drawing maps and working on his portraiture- something Excellence has been helping him with, seeing as she can easily change her appearance. He chats for a while before realising he was to meet the duke and races off.
- Excellence also tells the party that their friend Donella stole off in the night, with a rare mandolin that belonged to the duke. One of the housekeepers, charmed by the gnome, simply handed it over. Excellence, however, is somewhat relieved that it is gone as it seemed to actually have adverse effects on the lord whenever he attempted to play it.
- With that, the group head down to the teleportation chamber, and just before completing the spell, Speck cries out in surprise, his arm forcefully moved, marring the near complete arcane circle… over his shoulder, before being torn from her place, Weezl sees the spectral form of a robed man grinning, puppeteering the wizard’s hand. And then… sheer white, then darkness… the sound of wind and a crashing thud…
- Ziggy and Weezl find themselves in a room… a glowing glyph above them, etched into the roof 20ft high. It sputters and dies out. And the room is pitch dark. With 3 doors available to them, the pair investigate one of the doors, hearing the sound of wind around it. Weezl uses Mold Earth to create a small path under the door and they spy a tunnel, with pits that drop a good 50-60 ft. They decide, yes, we’re committed to this, and navigate their way down the tunnel, leaping the pits.
- Ziggy takes a brief aside to talk to Dannick trying to figure out what’s going on and to do what he can to find Speck. He also (jokingly) suspects Nathaniel is behind this mishap, drawing “I fucking knew it” from the guild leader.
- The druid finds this easy to do, walking along with walls with her Slippers of Spider Climbing while Ziggy has the beginning of a rather unlucky day, almost falling into a pit and getting lashed by a vine-whip by Weezl to assist in pulling him up. And this was not without a liberal sprinkling of Guidance assisting the rogue’s attempts at athleticism.
- Finally the pair find themselves before a chasm… they can’t see the bottom so Ziggy pulls out a lantern, which gives off a little light, but not enough. Weezl decides she will help, using Sunlight to create a tiny sun to fill the area with light… in response, Ziggy throws the lantern into the pit.
- Investigation (and a summoned magical raven) leads them to finding that there is a room on the other side of the chasm… part of the wall shows a tumble of stones which block the way, but easily enough moved by a druid. Weezl WILL get there. There are glowing mushrooms in that chamber and she wants them.
- The gnome clears a section of the stones away, so the room can be entered, but there’s still a 60 ft pit to clear. Then, ensues an argument regarding Weezl’s magic shoes. Ziggy wants them and Weezl isn’t having any of it. They’re HERS. She argues that it takes an hour to attune to them and Ziggy states “Well I’m not fucking going anywhere!” ((I can’t, honest to god, explain how hilarious this exchange was. I need to draw it at some point.))
- They decide that they will create a tightrope situation which does get the rogue across, even if it did mean the loss of his rope as the pitons couldn’t quite hold his weight in the centre of the rope. But, he does get across. They spy the door on the other side of the room and crossing the room notice something shimmering above them? A cube of sentient jelly (Gelatinous Cube, yo!) lands before them, threatening to engulf the pair!
- What happens is thus: Ziggy does not roll well, getting eaten by the cube and being burned by acid… he does get out however (in a way similar to that birthing scene in Ace Ventura), and he does carry on about it quite a bit. Weezl freaks out, trying to pull the creature into the chasm pit behind her with her Vine Whips. It does eventually work, almost killing the cube, which (now smaller) slides away after the gigantic fall.
- After some (prompted) healing the pair open the door, after disabling the locking mechanism, and find themselves led into a large chamber.
- It had not been a good few days for Suriramar. Responding to a missive from fellow faction agent, he was heading to Shelter when he was blindsided by something, knocked unconscious and dragged into a wet, miserable, stinking cave. For two days he had been stripped down to simple clothing, his gear stolen, and lay shackled to a pagan altar, awaiting sacrifice or some other terrible fate. His own powers allowed him to stave off injury, infection and starvation, but captivity was taking its toll.
- Gnome and half-elf enter the chamber… firstly noticing the giant, odd, crude statue of a crayfish headed, and armed, woman looming over a corner of the cave. Before it are levers, pools of water and lightly, green, glowing ooze on the roof. In front of the giant idol was an altar with a humanoid man shackled to the platform, seemingly unconscious.
- Like any concerned do-gooders, they inspect the room first but make their way over to the prisoner… Ziggy stepping on some poisoned spikes and struggling to undo the shackles while he feels painfully ill- until Weezl fixes him with a Lesser Restoration.
- The rogue talks to the man to find out what has been happening down here. They plan to get out and go to Shelter, a goal they share with the prisoner- Ramar. Ramar does mention his captors and their patrols, and also that his gear is nearby. They just need to figure out the levers that open the… nevermind. As the conversation has been happening, Weezl has been swinging off the levers and manages to unlock the door by accident.
- The group get into the small room, shoring up the door with some molded earth, and find the shorter man’s armor and weapons. They find a few choice coins, a horrible couple of barrels of fish guts and offal, and a bag of crude bone idols (in similar fashion to the lobster woman-thing.) They each opt to take an idol, seeing as it could be a useful offering if need be (Ramar recalling that some of the fish-men take small tokens with them down one of the paths.)
- They return to the chamber and decide to desecrate this idol, trying to smash it to pieces. The are taken with the stones it has for eyes- inky, black and seemingly void-like in appearance. Amidst the percussion of their “redecorating” they are ambushed by rampaging fish men! They rush into the room…
(Okay, real talk, I designed this room to be interesting but NOT for combat. What happens is hilariously strategic, the insane fish-men somehow making this area incredibly defensible.)
- Ziggy has awful luck with most of his attacks… Windzard misses, as does his activated Dagger of Venom, a lot of 2’s are rolled… and these guys do NOT have decent armor. So, go figure.
- Weezl summons a goddamn army of giant crabs. Eight of the tough fuckers. Count ’em. She somehow fits them onto the battlefield, creating small regiments of the grappling bastards. They seriously lock down the battlefield, with the fishmen getting caught or poisoned in their attempts to attack the party.
- Ramar’s paladin aura protects the party from the few spells the creatures try to throw, not a single one effecting the group. The paladin also manages to smite one of the tougher creatures, and utilising Moonbeam manages to kill as many fishmen as crabs. He probably was more effective at killing them than the enemy was actually. Another fishman gets within range of him, and using a Thunderous Smite and an obscene amount of damage, destroys the creature, throwing it across the room and into the moonbeam… burning it away.
- The group are fixated on defending themselves, killing stubborn Kuo-Toa, and making a point of them actually being able to kill things- with Ziggy using two of his Guided Arrows. One wounds one of the tougher creatures, while another manages to destroy a retreating scout with a thunderous boom (with a single shot and without line-of-sight.) He and the bow are pleased with their efforts.
- Weezl begins to command crabs, and using her vines she drags some of the fishmen onto poisoned spikes… bringing one within range of Ramar.
- The small man decides to smite the idol (each party member is perched on different parts of this thing through most of the fight)… and he does a Smite-enhanced Thunderous Smite on the statue… shattering it with force enough to launch the crayfish-head like a missile, turning the surprised and insane fishman into a bloody mist of gore and thrown limbs.
- Finally, after being unable to pry out the statue’s eyes, Ziggy turns his attention, and his crowbar, to the final flailing, frothing fishman… smashing it right between the eyes and kicking it off the platform.
- Ziggy finds and stores away the remaining idol’s eye, which had been lodged into a wall from the force of Ramar’s blow against the statue.
- The group quickly start to move (with their new contingent of remaining crabs), heading down one of the paths… leading to Ramar falling into a small pit of quicksand. Somehow, SOMEHOW, Ziggy manages to use a crab to help pull the man out of the sand, and Weezl uses magic to solidify the ground for a time, allowing them to escape unscathed.
- After interacting with an idol, offering coins, they continue… only to find themselves back at the very room they had teleported in from. They decide then the arcane circle should be destroyed and with some creative use of pitons, rope, and a Nat 20 on a strength check, they manage to destroy a chunk of the masonry- ruining the spell circle.
- They head back to the altar chamber and head into the next room, one with a low roof so the party has to swim to proceed, to find the dead scout and blooded waters. They see glowing red coral in the distance and they decide to check that out. Weezl turns into a Giant Octopus and with her crab buddies swims down the small underwater path… however it is trapped, and a current tries to slam them all into spikes at the beginning of the path. All but a single crab make it, and it disappears in a puff of ether, returning to the realm of the fey.
- The Octo-Weezl smashes the coral, with a Nat 20 again (what the hell, guys?) actually destroying the enchantment carved into the walls, and she gathers the party and they swim to a small chamber… a small chamber that is filled with GODDAMN LOOT!
- They find some dry land and in the dark they investigate the small platform- finding jewellery and gold… and (rolling on the Magic Item tables) a +1 Longsword and a Potion of Hill Giant Strength. Useful shit, especially for their new paladin friend.
- Weezl, rolling the highest investigation check, actually finds a small chrome-metallic skull. Humanoid in appearance, about the size of a fist and unusually dense. It feels faintly magical and they notice it looks as those it had gems set in its eye sockets, but they are now empty.
- Ramar tries to find gems that will slot into the skull, and putting one in the slot causes it to adhere… not being able to be pulled out. He then decides that a blue gem would nicely match the green one and places that on the skull too… And then we rolled a whole bunch of random shit… leading to the party’s first sentient item – Project: Y2S2p2s; a mage’s study project in creating magic items- a “Talking Machine”, also known as a Vox Machina (the collective facepalm from the table was amazing, matched only by the reaction that I decided to use Tiberius’ voice for the thing.)
- The skull, not yet being named, has tried to help- using some reliably unreliable divination magic. And with that, the party know which path not to follow next in order to escape… and so the session ends there.
Another long recap, but fuck it, that’s just how I write this stuff these days.
I had such a blast with this session. I feel like everyone had fun. And being the DM, I honestly felt like we were all players at the table for this session. It’s really hard to explain but it was great.
It was fun working in a lot of elements I’ve been thinking about for a while and I really love dungeon design. Matt’s response of “That’s such a good idea” when I mentioned the relocated Transportation Circle made me so chuffed.
Also, there were SO MANY GOOD MOMENTS. Ziggy and Weezl were hilarious as always and everyone had an opportunity to do some really cool shit. Everyone also seemed to really love the idea of “Project: Skully.” I’m sure PVP will eventually happen over who gets to name this thing, but, y’know what? I’m cool with that (I’m actually not, guys, you gotta be friends!)
So, what will happen next time? Will Ziggy roll above a 2? Will Weezl summon another 8 crabs to create another shell’d wall? Will Ramar continue to be a walking bunker/nuclear silo in a 5’5" frame?! FIND OUT NEXT TIME, WHEN THE PARTY FACE…. THE REST OF THE DUNGEON! DUN DUN DUNNNNN!