TI2.10: Scouting level four

The characters for this session

Fennec, L2 wizard (combat mage)

Jotunn, L5 warrior (hunter, with tracking talent)

Crompton, L2 rogue (roguery and runebearer)

At the guild council the Dwarves ponder what to make of it all

The adventurers guild council meets again, late the next day. During that day a number of rewards have come back and new missions posted. Equally importantly Fennec and Crompton are both fully shod and clad. At the top of the table Mother Hobb is perched on the table taking notes and Two and Bless are unfolding a piece of silk that has been turned into a gridded outline of the city.

Other adventurers present, by group in alphabetic order:

City boys: Danain and Hely, to make a case for help;

Dwarves: Fennec, with Crompton and Jotunn, to hear about further missions;

Fleeburns: Gena, wearing a mourning flash of silk;

Hathlisveit: Ausecur, to make sure their interests are promoted;

Heavy hitters: Two’s other party member Gnat, for her scouting expertise;

Lefties: Bless’s other party member Panic, for his opinion on where the seniors need to concentrate;

Survivors: Burnley and Whitey to hear what the newbie groups have to say about needing help;

Tags: the locksmith pair Balda and Gontre (all the others are injured);

Wanderers: absent.

Fennec has a small update for the council:

“I’ve taken the trouble to talk to a few of the soldiers out on the battery. A sergeant-type spoke of finding ‘bodies clove in two’ and ‘strange black arrows in others’ and ‘huge boot-prints’ so I think we’re safe to say that the ogre, his go-between, and maybe whoever they wanted with them, really did escape and cut through the defenses.”

“By the way,” Fennec adds, “the captured gunnes – five big ones though one probably ought not to be fired – are being shifted around to bear on the other enemy works, and our comrade Cauleigh is out there to help negotiate.”

The sudden change in fortune for the besieged city has created new considerations to set before the council. The map helps explain factions and the remaining leader, Kimelas Sinister AKA Kimelas the Elder, is given a vague outline. Alongside these the count-down to the harvest (three to four days) and the urgent need to get the vampiress mean the need to find a route to Level 6 is top of the mission list.

The route should ideally be both secret and direct enough for Two and Bless to combine their powers and lower Righteous Filbard easily. Which means sink-hole are much preferred to stairways that monsters will be patrolling.

Given the progress on the grand tunnel barrier, scouting across the great cavern for other Level 4 entrances is the focus of the seniors and the Dwarves need to keep scouting their find.

The council, or at least the Dwarves and seniors, still needs to agree on the order of battle in Level 6. It will definitely be a combined effort! The elements that will – most likely – be there are:

Heavy hitters and Lefties combining their fighting powers;

Righteous Filbard, possibly with his veteran Dwarf bearers;

The Dwarves, possibly acting as Filbard’s bearers or guard;

The Sveltes, possibly supporting the Dwarves and Filbard as scouts.

All manner of other combinations are possible; for example Gnat could run interference for Filbard, or Jotunn could join the seniors to help take the aggro. Fennec makes an interesting suggestion about using the overwhelming force that Chion’s regiment would bring, but that would involve finding regular passages down through 4 and 5 and fighting the whole way.

The other key matters before the council are the new instruction from the QM-General’s office, and the appeal from newbies for support in Level 1.

Two and Bless explain the silk map:

“The QM-General’s office has supplied this map, with instructions that the shatterzone and enemy camp are to be sifted for treasure and coin, and those rendered to the QM-General’s office.

“This council needs to come up with a position to reply to the instruction.”

Turning the situation over to the table allows a surprisingly quick reply. It won’t be a problem – provided the QM-General’s office is not putting those areas up as missions. Most everyone is more than happy to concentrate on the dungeon levels and the missions already in train.

Gena, with a nod to Danain and Hely, indicates they should speak:

“Level One has been tackled and some of us have done better than others. Natty Paray is dead and his group the fleeburns and his sister Mithril of the wanderers is mourning his loss. The healing station is down on Level 2 of the Guild halls and well away from the entrance to Level 1. But Level 2 is all sealed up and it seems there’s no need to worry about it now. What we are getting at is, we seem to be spending lives here and some help would be good.”

The table – barring Ausecur – discusses this and the opinion of the survivors is particularly important since they are the ones that would help. Fennec asks about what kinds of monsters are being encountered and the answer is a mixture of Goblins and lesser of the shatterzone topside type – brownies for example – and the occasional larger in-situ thing.

The decision is that Level 3 scouting is still too important to move the healing station. The survivors will stand patrol and groups finding themselves under attack from numbers need to holler for help and pull back cautiously. This is the guild life.

As to the side-suggestion that where fireplaces are encountered a fire be lit to help clear bugs and the like out of the topside and Level 1, that leads to a discussion on firewood and the scarcity of timber, and how it would be really useful to get big timber struts from the enemy earthworks before the QM-General’s office confiscates it all.

[Post-meeting the Tags ask Jotunn’s advice, he realizes they need to make their own mind up and gives advice both ways (Elf style!) and gets bonus AP.]

They return to business as usual

In terms of their need to keep scouting a Svelte will be very handy and Ausecur agrees to stay with them and help. He listens to what they have to say about limiting noisy gear and spells, and heads back to his quarters to assemble gear.

The Dwarves have two items identified now. These are the two they picked up in the dead kobold bosses table, a nice bracelet and a short-bow arrow. Tentatively Crompton agrees to use both. The bracelet is of very limited use and he’ll need to get his gambeson sleeves re-cut. Jotunn suggests he can slot the arrow through his gambeson’s breast and after a bit of experiment he does manage to tuck it behind the breastplate but with enough touchable that he can activate it. It will protect him from normal missiles.

Feeling good in his new boots Crompton rejoins the other three who are admiring, or listening to the seniors admiring the new barrier. Rickety scaffolding reaches right up to the ceiling and stone blocks make most of a crude barbican-like exit. Firing slits off a fighting platform are included.

Two wants to hang a gate-door kind of access out, since he doesn’t want to seal the guild away from all the rest of Level 3. Fennec agrees that a few Hathlisveit Dwarves will probably have some mason expertise and a message should be sent. Here, he thinks of Ausecur, but the Svelte seems to have forgotten that he originally came as representing the regiment’s interests, so a message will be relayed direct or via Cauleigh.

From the barrier the seniors and Dwarves walk through to the great cavern.

“Lefties will clear the side-rooms over right, Dwarves clear the side-rooms down the gully, heavy hitters stand support near the gully.”

The Dwarves quietly discuss ways of safely moving across the sinkhole or fissure they found blocked the way forward; and what to do about the dark pool and steps beyond. Crompton outlines a wood frame and sliding sabot-like ladder to get across, and the semi-competent carpenters take that on as their next task once the scaffolding work is done. Jotunn advises taking stone blocks from the pile and quietly blocking the side-hole that Crompton squeezed through (to get to the pool) and they do that right away.

[Some bonus AP for the various good ideas.]

Jotunn scouts forward

It is late that same day but they are well rested. Ausecur has not rejoined them, and since all they are doing is scouting the chambers and passages, the trio set out over the scaffold bridge. The sliding sabots, though not at all what Crompton first thought of, work fine.

Party order: Jotunn scouting (using his tracking talent where possible) then Fennec with WoW up but off to one side to see past Jotunn, then Crompton but off to the other side to be able to use his heavy bow.

Jotunn confirms that the glittering that could be seen in the dust from the other side comes from small gems, not specially valuable. He moves forward and studies the rubble that seems to have been caved in from the other side of the chamber. Beyond, a tunnel swings left sharply.

As he sets foot carefully over the rubble, a large snake – which looked a lot like stone until it struck – sinks its fangs right through his boots! [L3 CON SR no problem]

Crompton reacts immediately, loosing his bow at the snake. By happy chance he has accidentally nocked one of his remaining Sheeting Arrows of Claes and a storm of flechettes hammers the snake, and Jotunn. Luckily Jotunn is well armored and only the snake takes damage.

A wight takes a hand

The tunnel seems to broaden, left, perhaps into a chamber. As Jotunn cautiously approaches the corner a bony hand reaches out and seizes his axe hand in an icy grip! Jotunn smashes his magical sopok shield into the wrist and Crompton doubles past Fennec, activating his hourglass – “Tempus Fugit” and vorpalling his axe gets in to help. The undead creature’s eyes glow red in deep black sockets! Fennec throws in a Glue You and they smash it to bits, though not before Jotunn feels himself weaken. [-1STR]

“Righteous Filbard’s probably the one to contact to restore that,” Fennec advises.

There is a chamber but it lacks treasure. A rusty iron bowl lies dry and empty against one wall. A heavy iron chain stapled into the rock rusts on the far wall. Near it, a bony foot lies gnawed off. The undead creature was not very mobile as it lacked a foot.

Beyond, a frosty reception

The tunnel seems colder and slopes up. Then up and around, shallowly. Then as Jotunn sees a couple of branches left, including to an opening, a huge Troll, protected with a glittering layer of ice, advances purposefully on him!

Fennec is quick on the draw: “Glue You!”

This gives the Dwarves breathing space. They pull back, and back, always making sure the Troll wants to keep chasing them. At the corner that leads to the ladder-bridge, Fennec throws his trusty OGA and the Troll pursues him as fast as it can! Crompton emits a shrill alarm-whistle, to alert the heavy hitters.

They dash across the bridge and heave its parts back onto the safe side. Then Jotunn and Crompton grab one of the beams as a ram, for the Troll, undeterred by the leap, strides up, rams its right hand against a wall, freezes that in place, and swings towards the near side!

Jotunn and Crompton slam the timber’s end against the Troll’s torso as Damper, the true tank of the heavy hitters, rams his tower shield against the end. Fennec throws a powered-up TTYF directed at the Troll’s hand where it is frozen onto the wall… and the Troll falls into the depths.

They rest a few minutes and receive congratulations [and 70 bonus AP, ice trolls are scary] then reassemble the ‘bridge’ and loot the Troll’s lair. Fennec finishes off the map he’s been sketching.

Looting the Troll’s lair provides injury and gems

The lair connects to the steps Crompton saw across the pool. Another branch seems to go to a Troll privy. Another branch swings right and seems to head up. A short way along, just where steps up begin, it is blocked by solid ice. Jotunn wipes a sleeve across the ice and in the limited light, can just see a very annoyed looking goblin, frozen solid inside the ice.

The Troll’s own chamber holds some not-very-comfortable stone benches. As Crompton explores a wall and detects a panel, the stone flops down on him! He is saved by his armor, but will need plenty of healing.

The Troll favored ice-themed gems, and they pick up two small blue diamonds and three very nice large star sapphires.

The seniors compare notes and maps are updated

Over cards and tea, or ale and odd-tasting stew (“maybe Catoblepas isn’t the best ingredient”) the Dwarves, Lefties and heavy hitters compare maps and Two tides up his master map.

The Lefties cleared the side-chambers, finding a minor boss and yet more nice stuff to add to their pile.

The Dwarves cleared the gully chambers, leaving the fissure down to explore.

Sharp, the heavy hitters’ quick-moving warrior, offers the use of a wand for the fissure. “It will stop one undead,” he explains. “Point it and yell ‘fight for me!’. There are some other words but those ones work for me.”

Jotunn scratches his head. “Might be a bit hard to use…”

“Yeah, we found the same. It’s hard to find a gap in a fight to haul it out. But you never know.”

“Gift horses and all that,” Fennec counsels and Jotunn ties it inside his sopok with some twine.

Down dangles Jotunn, on down in the dark

The following day, strength restored to normal, [and after spending APs boosting DEX to 22] Jotunn is lowered by sturdy rope off the makeshift bridge. The Cateyes spell cast by Crompton allows him to see, in monotones, that the fissure is not a comfortable round chiney, but stretches off to either side into real blackness. Creepy crawlies of large size and irascible nature occupy small lairs all the way down.

After estimating that he has been lowered more than five fathoms, Jotunn sees the fissure broaden below his feet. He reaches up to where he has pre-knotted the rope and jerks it twice, and his descent pauses.

Below, probably another two or three fathoms down, there is a pool cutting across a fair-size regular-shaped chamber. He can hear the water running through both walls. Shattered remains of an ice troll lie part-in the pool.

A large snake very similar to the one that bit him yesterday noses out of a stone niche and regards him balefully. He jerks the rope rapidly again and is hauled back up as quickly as possible.

The Dwarves (and Svelte) scout Level 4

Ausecur has come equipped with a broadax light enough to throw, a buckler, and a reserve short sword and dagger. His mishmash of armor looks as though it allows mobility. He may possibly have borrowed it from Kamerad. (Or looted Kamerad’s body, thinks Fennec darkly.)

The Svelte, who seems to be able to see fine in the dark, does the scouting and the other three explore to check doorways and that side-tunnels don’t contain ambushers, in his wake. Wherever he spots or hears danger Ausecur falls back, sometimes at the run.

Jotunn’s instinct is to just follow open pathways because zombies must ascend somewhere and they are not good with door-handles. This guides the Dwarves as they:

  • locate a secret door in the pool chamber, but leave it for later;
  • locate a door off it but proceed to the open end;
  • ambush a mini-boss weird ogre and his bulked-up kobold minion;
  • ignore a side-passage to possible cells and other doors;
  • kill the ogre’s pet giant cat;
  • use his heaped manky rugs to muffle three of four very tough zombies allowing one at a time to be beheaded;
  • polish off a ‘bait’ zombie pretending to be a tempting corpse;
  • scout round a circuit locating stairs going down

Loot there must be, but apart from a hefty coin-pouch, very little has been examined. Fennec has just enough mana to keep powering WoW so they retreat and finish sketching a map up above. And the session ends.

There were two councils that I have run together, and spun part off to a seniors’ confab. It’s interesting to see ideas of a different flavor come through when Cauleigh’s player is absent, I thought everyone did well and the proof was in the pudding of rough-mapping Level 4. Though sure, there could be an entire wing beyond one of the 16 doors ignored. No bonus AP is handed out for the level so far, since it has not been cleared.

Props

Dodecahedron 2014 (op cit) is providing me with the Level 4 map and extra bits such as the small complex of the ice troll, and all monsters and furniture, come from Wizardawn (op cit) Area Builder.

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About andrewmclaren26

Weekly Roleplayer, Wargamer when I can
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