Dungeon Do-Over

   Regular readers of this blog know about the First Edition AD&D campaign I’ve been running for almost two years now. We have 2 game sessions a year – it’s not much – and we’ve just played Game #5 on May 21. Huge success.

   This time around the guys returned to the dungeon they’d explored exactly one year ago (that’s four months, in the game world). They wanted to retrieve the big silver menhir they’d seen before. This 3-ton block of pure alchemical silver is worth somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 g.p. but the players absolutely need a Dwarven engineer and some equipment in order to dislodge and carry that thing: tree trunks, logs, chains, pulleys and levers. This Dwarf is the NPC I created to help them along. PCs tackle the dungeon denizens, and the engineer will take care of that menhir.

   For once, they knew exactly where the first teleport would take them – they’ve been in that room before, fighting goblins and a trapper. Four months later, monsters have been replaced / replenished... and the DM also put in much more work.

Notice the giant scorpion INSIDE the pit...

That gnoll had a wood palisade providing 80% cover.

   Since the party knows this dungeon and has two accurate maps for it, there was quite a lot of movement / routing around / backtracking. The mind flayer was home (it is his dungeon, after all), and he had 14 “dominated” human mercenaries with him, plus a gnoll captain, many kobolds, an air elemental, and a grell. The players didn’t want to fight this daunting assortment head-on, and so they used the dungeon layout to their best advantage: we saw meleeing in corridors, staircases, and smaller chambers, as shown in these pictures.

Kobolds tried to “smoke them out”.

Air elemental? Toughest monster of the game lasted only 5 rounds!

The mighty Battle of the Corridor.

   I’m glad I could make use of my two favorite full page AD&D pictures: the kobolds (Monster Manual), and the awesome grell (Fiend Folio).

    This image is all the more fitting because one of my players, a magic-user, cast his newly acquired web spell on the kobolds – just like in the pic!

   The grell image is also rather fitting since it was the ranger who got himself all tangled up in the creature’s paralyzing tentacles – and that sword-wielding dude in the picture kinda looks like a ranger in splint or scale mail...

Thieves love to do stuff all by themselves...

   After many hours of play and numerous skirmishes, the final clash happened with the mind flayer and his dreaded pet grell, but I really dropped the ball on this one. A penultimate corridor engagement had occurred without the spellcasters using up any of their spells, because they said they needed that “heavy artillery” to kill the mind flayer stone dead in three rounds flat. They kept repeating that over and over again – and the effect on me was similar to a hypnotic pattern I suppose, because when Dr. Flayer showed his ugly mug, I totally forgot about his 90% magic resistance. All the players (not just those two magic-users) were definitely pumped and ready to unleash a spell storm. I focused on the mind blasts – but it wasn’t enough. Sorry, illithid friends. I guess two pints of 6% beer isn’t a good idea towards the end of a 9-hour session...

   My stinking cloud marker is a piece of dyed cotton coil, and my new web marker is a 4″ × 4″ piece of gauze. Of course the guys cast one on top of the other, and it looked like a glazed pistachio donut or something. Then they lit that web on fire and promptly blasted six magic missiles into the nauseating mess...

   Cleric used 2 out of 4 Beads of Karma to keep his spiritual hammer going for much longer than it should have. Each hit scored maximum damage, because the spell had been prepared using the Incense of Meditation found a year ago in the mind flayer’s own stash – isn’t that ironic!

   They deserve that silver menhir; they did everything right. I’m the one who botched the final scene. All six players were eager and exhilarated – so, let’s call this a “good” boss fight, despite my mistake. Better that than an unenthusiastic clash with a fearsome and fully magic resistant mind flayer... Deadly boss fights will come soon enough, don’t worry. I’m gonna have to bust out the beholder or red dragon within a year or so. This party kicks ass.

   For those readers mostly interested in the actual “game session” recaps, here’s the complete list again. Not click-on, though. Jot it down + look through the archives for those posts.

   Game #1   2014: July 28
   Game #2   2014: December 11
   Game #3   2015: June 10
   Game #4   2015: September 13


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