The Toast of Hommlet: We are beloved!
We’re about ready to cash up the bandit loot. Jimmy takes the remaining heavy crossbow and now there are three light crossbows in the pile that Kendrick and Grim have to carry up to the traders. Alex and Jimmy swagger in front, Borrox excuses himself and carries on uphill to the temple to report. Leaving Alex and Jimmy to their haggling, Grim and Kendrick head back to the ale-room where the locals seem to have warmed to them. Something to do with the free drinks.
Canon Turdgin (grudgingly) commends Borrox. When Borrox asks about old-timers that might know more about the moat-house, the Canon refers him to one Jaroo, a druid that lives in a small grove opposite the Welcoming Wench.
Later in the afternoon, Borrox rejoins the lads. He finds that Alex managed to get 250 for the equipment and gold chain, but has decided to hang onto the crystalware. They kick around the worth of donating it to the temple, Grim thinks giving it to Burne might be better.
Between sets (he’s entertaining as well as shouting the drinks, what a guy!) Alex asks around for Jaroo. No, he’s not a drinker, he’ll be in his glade. So Alex heads off (while we panic thinking he’s still got all the money) and finds Jaroo, and starts wittering on about poultices. Still at least he didn’t talk about protection and how glades can catch fire! Luckily he then heads back and gets Borrox, who gets the enquiry going. What’s underneath the moat-house? Jaroo doesn’t really know but speculates it would be cells. He adds there are hobgoblins in the area, but that – cannily – they confine their raids to the north, so as to avoid posses.
Search the detritus: Surprise!
The next day we straggle west to the moat-house – some of us the worse for wear – and meet a couple of militia meat-wagons returning with the bodies. (Jimmy congratulates himself on disguising the secret door again.)
We have Blossom the donkey this time. We take no particular precautions – after all we just met the militia – and we tether Blossom outside to enjoy the meadow grass, amble in to the courtyard, and Grim dishes out three 10’ poles for searching parties. At this stage, we’re not going to tackle the big lizard (in the westernmost chamber) until we finish searching elsewhere. Here’s what we find inside on the ground level:
A jewelled dagger; a broadsword of good quality; a jug of oil; a gold ring, and a very tarnished silver baton. We also find the galley and pantry are much as we left them and there is food to eat and a cooking pot for Jimmy to loot.
We extend the search out to the courtyard. Poking around in the filth of a gate-house tower Grim fails to spot something big up in the rafters.
Surprise round: a giant wolf-spider leaps down at Grim but bounces off his chain mail (at L2 Grim can’t be caught flat-footed).
- [Alex – from round 2]
- [Borrox – from round 2]
Round 1: Grim uses his 10’ pole like a bo staff (GM rules that it is not an improvised weapon but -1 because nor is it a Quarterstaff) and whacks the spider! [7 damage] Jimmy daws his short-sword and lunges into the fray but misses. The spider makes a lunge for Jimmy and also misses.
Round 2: Alex shoots into combat, and successfully drives his arrow through the creature, which thrashes about dying.
We add 38 silver and 71 copper coins to the treasure pile, and a hinged ivory tablet or book-cover. We’re now ready to tackle the lizard.
[Jimmy has levelled up and can now legitimately draw a weapon and fight in the same round, something he’s been doing all along.]
Lizard Steak! What a tough customer!
Grim is the door-opener: he only needs one hand and can step back into one of the smaller side-chambers. All four others are ready and standing back down the passage, the two crossbowmen kneeling and the two longbowmen aiming over their shoulders.
Surprise round: Grim flips the door open and steps back, all four others shoot. The doorway takes a pounding as three god-awful shots slam into lintel or frame; Kendrick sinks an arrow into the tough hide of the lizard [2 damage], which hisses and looks very annoyed. It is fully five feet long in the body!
Round 1: Alex slams an arrow home [7 damage], Jimmy drops his crossbow, and throws his dagger accurately and hard [5 damage]. Grim swoops in and swings lustily and misses for the first time in his career. Borrox drops his crossbow, charges forward drawing his mace and smashing the lizard in the head [6 damage] while Kendrick drops his longbow, sweeps up his halberd (he has Quickdraw) and charges – and misses. The lizard snaps at Borrox, missing. It seems to want to make a fight of it though.
Round 2: Alex decides this is a major battle and begins singing (why didn’t he do that 2 rounds ago?). Jimmy and Grim both miss, even though Grim, assuming Alex knows something important that warrants powers being used, has begun raging. Borrox kills the lizard with barely a tap [2 damage].
[Grim is being played immersively, something his player is not supposed to be doing. Silly Grim! Keep an eye out for Grim’s next immersive-based cockup!]
We begin a detailed search of the lizard’s luxury pad. Grim butchers the lizard for steaks: he finds a fair-size metal shield in the creature’s gut, apparently none the worse for wear! Jimmy finds a chest with old but serviceable scale armor, light crossbow and 24 bolts, and a dried-up pouch with 33 coppers. Alex meanwhile has appraised the jewelled dagger as worth over 850 gold – only the magical shield, so far, would be worth more than that. With the loot piled up he scans with a Detect magic and confirms that only the metal shield is magical.
We perform a rough and ready clean-up on the donjon sleeping quarters, stable Blossom in the main hall, and settle down for the night, enjoying lizard steaks washed down with looted drink.
What the heck are you doing here?! Charge!
Come the dawn and ablutions over, Jimmy opens the secret door and we head down.
Party order and what’s to hand:
- Grim – 10’ pole and greatsword
- Jimmy – crossbow
- Alex – two javelins and longbow, lantern
- Borrox – crossbow (magic shield on back)
- Kendrick – large shield and javelin, longsword
At the base of the stairwell Grim lets Jimmy open the concealed door. We appear to have opened a door on one wall of a tunnel. Grim can pick out a little light to the right, so (taking the precaution of probing the floor with his pole) steps out and scans the area. It is a tunnel, a good 10’ wide, but opens immediately in front of Grim into a chamber to the right. Far ahead there are a couple of doors around the corner of the chamber. A little noise can be heard from within the chamber.
Grim decides to rattle the dwellers and roars as he advances to cover at the corner of tunnel and chamber. [Silly Grim, playing immersively again!] To his intense chagrin there is only one denizen, and it is a large Ogre which is now not surprised. It swings up its massive club…
Round 1: Those of us that are still inside the stairwell advance out into the tunnel, though neither Kendrick Borrox nor Alex feel called upon to actually support Grim. Jimmy bravely scuttles to sneak-attack range behind one of the slender pillars that support the chamber’s roof, and misses. Grim rages, charges – and misses for the third time in a row. [But the dice are creeping up, that was a 3!] He is promptly smashed by the massive club [13 damage]. Everyone else winces and three of us decide maybe they better get involved.
Round 2: Borrox advances ready to heal but intuiting that the Ogre might be able to smeg him if he advances to cover behind Grim [even though that would be behind cover and therefore not subject to AoO] hangs back calling for Grim to fall back. Kendrick has readied his shield and sword and advances into the chamber. Jimmy tumbles through the danger zone (another superb tumble!) and stabs the Ogre’s back [6 damage]. Grim misses again [a 4 that time, woohoo] and pulls back 5’. Jimmy winces in anticipation but the Ogre, though it wheels and advances on him, misses clean.
Round 3: Borrox healing into Grim [+3 hp] and swaps his crossbow out for his mace. Kendrick steps in and misses! But he’s helped Jimmy anyway who again back-stabs [11 damage]. Grim charges the Ogre and finally hits, spearing his Greatsword deep into the massive creature’s back [16 damage]. It falls, yanking the sword out of Grim’s hands in its death-throes.
The chamber contains a crude fire-pit over which the Ogre has erected a large spit, and a crude “nest” of coarse blankets, tattered draperies and so on. Jimmy pokes around, finding a serviceable cloak and a large chest containing many tarnished coins of copper and silver, glass beads and a brass candlestick.
Oh, now it’s a crypt?! Begone, minions of undeath!
Grim, recovered from his fatigue, investigates the two doors. One is blocked off but the other lets onto a small chamber and beyond the next door into a huge chamber stretching away on both sides. Grim can hear muffled shuffling as non-union zombies make too much noise off to his left.
- Alex, Jimmy, Borrox
Round 1: Grim moves off around a corner away from the doors, partly to make sure we aren’t being snuck up on by an undead union member and partly to make way for the others. The zombies shuffle out of archways and one larger hallway off to the left. Alex casts Mage Armor, calls Kendrick forward from his rearguard position, and starts singing. Jimmy fires his crossbow as he advances into the chamber, and strikes a zombie [minor wound]. Borrox arrives in the doorway, presents his holy symbol and Turns three of them [6HD]!
Round 2: Kendrick arrives. Grim races after a zombie that is detached from the others and is fleeing, and chops it hard. More zombies arrive and three get right up close. Alex continues to sing (though delaying ready for Borrox) while Jimmy reloads, keeping out of harm’s way. Borrox Turns most of the zombies [9HD] as far as we can see. Alex advances, shoots and hits [5 damage] His Bardic Chant now starts taking effect: +1 to hit and damage and +2 against Fear or Charm effects.
Round 3: Kendrick advances, but the zombies are either in full retreat or have not yet arrived. Grim has now chased his prey into a corner near a stair going up, and finishes it off, retiring back towards the rest of ready to strike a second fleeing zombie. The zombies mostly retreat but several more new ones arrive. Jimmy advances and skewers one [9 damage with the extra from Alex’s Chant]. Borrox casts Light on his shield and advances. Alex looses his bow again while continuing to sing and hits the wounded zombie [3 damage].
Round 4: Kendrick takes a 5′ forward, drops the wounded zombie and cleaves across to another adjacent zombie, cutting it deeply. Over towards the stairs Grim slams his second target down and advances to support Kendrick. The zombie Kendrick wounded slams him brutally [7 damage]. More zombies are arriving, but not many more. We are probably facing only four or five that are not Turned, and as far as we can see, no more are shuffling out of crannies or tunnels. Jimmy drops his crossbow, draws his short-sword, runs at the zombie that hit Kendrick, but misses his stab. Borrox steps forward a pace or two and heals Kendrick completely. Alex moves the lantern so as to shed more light over toward the stair, just in case something nasty is creeping around.
Round 5: Kendrick finishes the zombie in front of him and cleaves into another. Grim chops a fleeing zombie [14 damage], but fails to bring it down. The last three or four zombies are now in our faces. Jimmy scurries round to grab a flanking attack [5 damage] on the zombie Kendrick wounded and drops it. Borrox advances, waving his mace menacingly! (He’s not able to actually close with Turned zombies apparently but the active ones are good targets now.) Alex picks out a wounded zombie that is not currently in combat and drops it with a well-aimed arrow.
Rounds 6 through 10: We finish the two or three not currently fleeing and go on to clean up the remaining half dozen that are cowering around various corners of the chamber.
We have conquered a large L-shaped chamber. The long arm of the L includes various small cells from whence shuffled our smelly, rotting adversaries as well as a side-tunnel where several more of them emerged; and the short arm of the L is also broad, and contains a staircase heading up. It seems too wide but could link up to the blocked cellar steps adjoining the pantry. We shall see… or we may retrace our steps and try to find out where the Ogre’s exit lies.