TI3.46: A toehold in Level Two! And loot!

The characters for this session:

Fennec, L3 wizard, combat specialist

Cauleigh, L3 warrior, novice townsman

Jotunn, L5 warrior, apprentice hunter, tracking talent

Crompton, L3 rogue, novice rune bearer, rogue talent

ably assisted by the Herbal Teas:

Sage, L3 wizard – wears 3pts armour under his robe

Trefoil, L2 warrior – 20 base points armour

Heartsease, L2 warrior – 12 base points armour

Wolfie, L2 wulfan – armour?

 

Stanza One: That final corner of Level One is a Doozy – Again!

Confident in his team’s own abilities, Cauleigh orders the Herbals back to base camp. “We just have a few rooms to clear then we’ll begin on Level Two,” he explains. Sage looks to Fennec to confirm this, and the wizard confirms.

About an hour later, the Herbals are alerted by the pass-phrase being called with cries of “raise the door!” A minute later Crompton and Jotunn drag Cauleigh in, Fennec following as rearguard. Cauleigh is conscious and grimly clutching his shield and kukri, but seems in a bad way.

“There was a smoke demon…”

Sage gets the Dwarves to spell it all out, so that those of his team that pay attention – Trefoil – can draw some lessons. Apparently, sandmen are likely to move on by if not disturbed in their own territory; servitor apes are likely to “arrest” shorties – one nearly grabbed Crompton but he slipped his torch into its hand and dodged out – and smoke-demons live in big urns and don’t like their sand-bed to be poked. Cauleigh was nearly pulled inside out, but all’s well. With lots of Poor Baby.

 

For their part the Herbals have upgraded the barracks/stables arrangement to include a partitioned area for privies, using halves of the pickle cask and other empty vessels, and tarps.

As Cauleigh rests, Sage and Crompton find time for a spell-trade. Crompton begins learning Knock-Knock, Sage easily picks up Alakascram.

 

Waving a confident farewell the Dwarves exit once more and the portcullis is lowered behind them.

 

This time, they choose not to fiddle with urns – Cauleigh’s rule is now ‘close the door again immediately’ – but do spot evidences of their first exploration from a week or so previous. Cauleigh remembers there is a secret door, they locate it and open it, then traverse a charcoal-daubed chamber. The crude daubs suggest a snake-creature. And – after trying a couple of doors – locate the very subject of the daub when something blows their torches out!

In the light of a WoW and Bic Flic two glowing yellow eyes are revealed. A tremendous battle of wits ensues: firearms are readied: the snake-creature uses a human puppet, then an urn, to draw fire, then attempts to flee while invisible! Cauleigh has rather a bad time missing the tricky OTIS-lit target but Crompton and Jotunn get good shots in with their weapons. Fennec, expecting some such thing, slaps a Glue-You on it as it flees. [Actually spends his precious boon, saved from 4 sessions ago!] With a cry of “yoiks!” Jotunn nimbly hurdles Cauleigh – as he stumbles on its tail – and yells “Temerity” smashing the mighty mace down! Crompton sinks his zapped blades in, Cauleigh leaps back to his feet and pursues, and the snake-creature dies!

With the aid of torchlight they study it with some curiosity. Though not dark grey and not blind, it seems similar to the blind, grey snake-creature they slew on Level One. The thing’s long fangs drip venom.

The lads put some good thought into this prep, though they keep ‘losing’ torches (mentally speaking) and I chip in suggesting Jotunn can see a way to use rope cinched from a nearby door and tied to the snake-being’s door-handle. They do not investigate the body of the human meat-shield in detail, choosing to simply note two puncture wounds in the back.

Finally, having either looked in every chamber, they return to the grand tunnel leading direct to the double doors, featuring an ape-head in relief, leading to the stair to Level Two!

 

Stanza Two: Level Two is a whole new confusing! And GAAAH! Trapped Loot!

They descend the broad steps without incident and note the lone desperate piece of cover used in the ambush – the pedestal with pipes that may warble – and in the light of three torches assess the great t-junction formed by steps and chamber. There’s no sign of the levitating orb on the ceiling. Jotunn can see faint traffic marks west, nothing east. Fennec spots the first part of a mosaic, off to the west.

Choosing to go where no man has gone before they head away from traffic and try a door north. A series of chambers is found and while not finishing the task of mapping all tunnels, they eventually work their way back through what might be a tannery to the main chamber again, this time on the west wing of it.

The wing forms a broad ‘lazy-T’, the head west and the leg back to the stairs. The north end of the head has three doors in it including the one they emerged from; the mosaic runs along the head on the west wall: and that has at least one pair of peep holes in it. And Crompton catches a faint sound right!

It’s an attack! But these groping, gibbering, clawing manlike creatures are mere undead, and only four in number… it is but the work of a moment for these veteran delvers to remove or smash heads, unscathed.

Whatever it was that opened the door quietly, has not held it open. They move to that door. In the well-lit dust of the chamber floor, Jotunn recognises drag-marks from it, running to the middle door of the trio.

Beyond the left-hand door, a broad chamber opens out left and ahead. As they fan out Jotunn stoops and sifts through tiny scraps: hyena-man hair, the odd blood-spot, and fragments of crates.

“The hyena-men probably fell back this far… then their gear has been removed at some point.”

Looking back into the lazy-T, Fennec notices a lone servitor ape. It clutches the burned-out stub of a torch. But it is not looking his way, and he leaves it be.

The chamber extends back south more than west, and following that, they at length locate a disused and decayed dining hall – once gracious, now termite-ridden – and the secret cubby behind the peep-holes.

Finally they locate another broad lazy-T chamber, featuring tasteful furniture and torture devices, a desk with rich-looking clutter and fitted drawers, and screens south. Spotting a gold turnip-shaped object Cauleigh sweeps it up. It has a word inscribed in its base, and he reads it out…

In the ensuing attack the air elementals smash the Dwarves around but can’t prevent them fleeing!

 

Stanza Three: Herbals to Level Two! Loot the place!

A rapid retreat – which the torch-stub ape does not prevent – and a new day. Crompton has pretty much locked in KK and Sage has pretty much locked in Little Feets. Trefoil runs over the plan with Cauleigh as all eight march down the stairs.

“So we’re the front line then! Excellent! Time to earn our pay! So long as the titch gives me a bit of magic juice, I’m right behind you! I’ll brace, you strike.”

“Shall I start with the big thing, wind it up, out front?” Jotunn gestures with Temerity. Heartsease raises her hand:

“I’ve always wanted to work with a man with a big thing,” she giggles. She readies her demilune to be braced to project over Jotunn. Sage and Fennec will sit back behind the warriors, Fennec having first shot, and Wolfie will stay rearguard.

The plan makes no difference to Cauleigh’s actual combat. As Fennec’s L4 TTYF slams into an elemental he leaps forward, leaving Trefoil to defend both Fennec and Sage, while Jotunn and Heartsease stick to their part of the plan and brace against the inrushing pair of semi-transparent elementals. Crompton’s shot finishes off the wounded elemental. Fennec feels the inrush of available mana as Sage backs him up. “Temerity!” Jotunn yells and as an elemental impales itself on the demilune, smashing his mace into the creature. Cauleigh dodges in, flicks his kukri lethally across, and dodges away again. That second elemental collapses in on itself!

The third elemental is untouched: Trefoil is smashed back as it punches into the wizards. Uttering a dreadful howl Wolfie jumps atop it, to no effect – he is flicked away like a puppy. The others rush to save the wizards and while everyone is hurt, no-one is seriously injured.

Fennec yells “Fuck this!” A brilliant crimson flash near-blinds everyone and the huge concussion of a L5 TTYF slightly deafens them, and as Cauleigh leaps in ready for the next strike, he finds the elemental has evaporated.

Accompanied by Jotunn’s grumbles about 15 minute working day wizards, they search the furnished chamber in detail, assemble everything valuable-looking, and retreat to base camp to investigate it all!

 

Stanza Four: Loot! Loot! Loot!

Sage spends some time on the various items with Cauleigh assessing the street value of other goods:

Non-magical plate etc worth up to 1000gp if sold carefully. This includes the thurible that used to hold 3 elementals. ‘Death mask motif’ cutlery could be collector-item stuff but porcelain crockery is normally costly. Handle with care!

The orb of levitation: levitates constantly. Currently locked in a chest carrying other valuables.

Wooden cube of torchlight: one face beams a high-level WoW. Quite a small cube, so easy to clasp in a gauntlet hand.

Three incense sticks that will aid higher-level ritual magic preparation. They do not act as batteries but as enhancers for higher level spells. Level 6 and above effects, such as hollow vision, wind whistle, ghostly going and blow-me-to are appropriate for these.

Archaic temple scroll: After time in a suitable library or guild spent studying the archaic script, a wizard can learn Poor Baby, Magic Fangs, Curses Foiled, OTIS, and something higher-level Fennec does not immediately recognise.

A sealed ceramic flask of Fly Me potion

A sealed ceramic flask of small eyeballs that when swallowed gives Second Sight

Two sealed ceramic flasks of cursed water that could, as Crompton suggests, be used as magical grenades. Most likely curses on intellect.

A spellbook that has an ominous design on its binding and possibly a curse to go with it

 

“This robe is a pile of crap,” Cauleigh decides, tossing aside a costly-looking blue garment shot with gold thread. “It went out of fashion in Esgaroth years ago!”

“It would be ironic if it originally belonged to Alintar,” Fennec suggests randomly. It is about the size of the paladin.

“Here you go Trefoil,” suggests Crompton, flicking it up to the big man.

“Pah! I’m not that off-trend!” Trefoil scoffs, tossing the bundle to one side. The gold thread glitters. And as the wizards discuss how to tackle the spell-book and where more spell-learning comes and some of the others exercise the ponies, the session ends.

 

 

Later Cauleigh calculated that of his 12 SRs 4 were fails. So not a good night for him. Jotunn got his usual share of IQ rolls for tracking, but Crompton was prevented from doing rogue stuff around doors, with Cauleigh on door-opening.

Overall an efficient search. And treasure, which helps soothe the AP-deprived Cauleigh. And speaking of AP deprivation Fennec’s player pointed out that wizards that work in normal cautious wizard fashion are AP deprived compared to front liners, since they aren’t stunting all the time. High risk, high reward is the best way to see this.

One sightly new feature emerged, my treatment of ‘superior’ shooting. It has been present all the way through but now the characters can hit things accurately it is coming through stronger. For example when Cauleigh rolls several more levels to hit the meat-shield than he needs I say that the bullet penetrates the man’s eye and blows the top of his skull off.

Anyway, my fears about the party going out of control are put to rest, and everyone is still alive, so on to explore Level Two! Stay tuned!

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