Ancient calcified doors were discovered by miners, deep underneath the Mountains of the Dwarves. Instead of sending elite troops right away to investigate this, the Dwarven King decided to organize a “Dungeon Lottery” to celebrate his birthday. Eighty-two teams of adventurers registered, and the PCs group won the draw, of course! So, into that new unexplored dungeon they boldly go, where no man (probably) has gone before... But there is a Dungeoneering Tax: 25% of everything they’ll find belongs to the King!
First room filled with water. “Guys, we’ll have to swim...”
They reach a large rectangular room packed with lots of weird things. There’s a ridge near the entrance, but then it’s cold water, getting deeper and deeper. Strange crystals / coral reefs can be seen here and there in the gloom. Rough-hewn stone stairs, too. And a stone portal that doesn’t lead anywhere. Plus, there are two magic mouths high up on the southern and eastern walls. And, last but not least, water elementals arise as soon as someone approach any one of those crystals...
Stairs! portals! magic mouths! crystals! water elementals!
Experienced players never split the party, that’s true. But I’ve learned that when you put them in big open areas with many different things to investigate or touch or look at, they kind of scatter around in all directions, and that’s quite funny. I call this the Toy Store Effect. As long as they still see each other, it’s okay.
So, all the characters get into the shallow-water part of the room. One PC is looking for secret doors. One is poking the nearest crystal. One lights lanterns. One splashes towards the stairs, thus activating the first magic mouth. Another undresses and swims into the deeper section, to hear what the second magic mouth has to say...
First magic mouth says: “You can access the arms quarters by speaking the true name of the prophet Wergobymoïn.” Bard makes a Lore check, comes up with zip. Second magic mouth says: “You can access the temple by trusting the water breathing virtues of the blue stones.” Thief dives, searches around, and locates an underwater passage in the south wall, right underneath that second magic mouth.
In the meanwhile, a water elemental attacked and had to be destroyed by the Dwarf and the ranger.
Then they give the “water breathing virtues” a try – and it seems to be working fine. So they begin to make plans in order to go underwater carrying plate mail, splintered mail, four hammers, a two-handed sword, two live familiars, three spellbooks, cubes of incense, and a musical instrument.
Kids, don’t try this at home. Especially if you like animals, incense, books, or music.
After a 10-minute dive they reach a large cavern filled with real air: there’s no other way to go. The Dwarf immediately starts putting his plate mail back on, and hears a bloodcurdling growl while he’s doing so...
An otyugh comes out of that big pile of rocks and bones in the middle of the cavern. Dwarf has to fight this monster alone for the first two rounds; he’s lucky, and doesn’t get typhus! That damned magic mouth lied through its magic teeth – it doesn’t look at all like a “temple” in there.
They didn’t expect a second otyugh, that’s for sure...
Two of my players are married. I mean, not to each other. They have wives, at home. Anyway, I don’t know if there’s any link to be made here, or if it’s just a coincidence, but the two married guys started to spew a litany of disgusting puns about glory holes and taking an otyugh “from behind”. It was hilarious. Bards and thieves – what can you do about them?
But it also boosted the party’s morale, and soon enough everyone was “taking” the remaining otyugh from behind, or “full frontal”, or whatever. The 59 HP male was already down, and the 45 HP female was now surrounded... But I know girls – human girls – who only have 5 HP, and if you piss them off real bad, they’re gonna rip your eyes out of their sockets. Hell hath no fury... Hit Points have nothing to do with it. Female otyugh defended herself better than her defunct companion and scored more damage, too. (But still no typhus – damn those Saves.)
Desperate Otyugh Housewife.
Utter carnage in big final pile-up.
Otyughs Lair and only exit.
Thief Climbing Walls towards “glory hole”.
The otyughs were most probably dropped through that chute when they were smaller, and they grew up in that cave, eating cadavers and shit that came down the chute. That climb is not a long one, and then the PCs find themselves in a dark building with no furniture nor features except for two archways leading out.
Thief goes out one arch, carrying the torch. Bard takes a peek outside the second arch, without a torch. Five other PCs stay inside, and suddenly a stinking cloud spell is cast upon them. A throwing knife also misses the thief by a hair’s breadth...
Drow Elves... and something else...
Those who failed to save against the stinking cloud are helpless for one round. The others scramble out only to find three other identical structures with Drow Elves perched on the rooftops – and a Handmaiden of Lolth!
Dwarf and thief both advance on a male Drow, while the bard targets the only female with his sling. Magic-users fire magic missiles at the yochlol, but this creature has 50% magic resistance, and one missile out of two is wasted. This fight may well be the most challenging they’ve had since we started playing AD&D again!
That darned Handmaiden of Lolth kept creating stinking clouds...
Since this is a spell that remains in place for several rounds, I needed a way to indicate where the nasty things were, but I didn’t want 2D markers, I wanted real 3D clouds. I bought beauty salon cotton coils and dipped them in green dye for four or five seconds, no more. The result is a light shade of green: perfect! But the camera flash makes ‘em look almost white. We’re losing that sickly green taint. Damn. I loved my stinking clouds...
It was an epic fight. Two characters were out cold, and two more were down to 1 or 2 HP, but the cleric had three cure light wounds in his Ring of Spell Storing, each one with maximum effect (8 HP) thanks to the Incense of Meditation – well done, padre: it made a big difference.
Frantic + Dramatic = Climactic.
Fourth building was a shrine to Lolth herself, and it held a pretty decent heap of loot, including a Robe of Useful Items and a Necklace of Prayer Beads. Christmas came early for the spellcasters! But don’t forget your 25% tax...
All characters are now 3rd level, except for the cleric who is 4th. Now they have to wait several months before they can use those new spells, prayer beads, or pull out wasps nests from that Robe of Useful Items...
Three months ago I gave them the Horn of Blasting, but they didn’t use it at all in this game. Bummer. That is like finding some giant double-headed dildo, and not using it in a fight (yes, I saw DEATHGASM last month, and I loved it).
The bard already have access to some druid spells because we use the Dragon magazine bard instead of that tedious Players Handbook bard. He chose shillelagh and speak with animals, and then asked if he could somehow cast shillelagh on his musical instrument instead of a wooden cudgel. My first reaction was to say no, but now I think I’m going to gladly allow it... because it would be so fucking funny. “Playing the axe” wouldn’t be a metaphor anymore: it would be literal and real.
Again, DEATHGASM influencing me. Imagine a delicately carved instrument suddenly morphing into a fat axlike magical two-handed weapon inflicting 2-8 damage instead of 1-6 with that short sword the poor bard currently uses!
Consider it done. Help support the arts... right?
Gaming Room looks lonely when the performers aren’t there.