The characters for this session:
Fennec, L3 wizard
Cauleigh, L4 warrior
Jotunn, L5 warrior
Crompton, L3 rogue
with their allies the Herbal Teas:
Sage, L3 wizard
Heartsease, L2 warrior
Wolfie, L2 wulfan
On the trail of loot
Our heroes – and Wolfie, quickest-reacting member of the Herbal Teas – have just defeated the third great serpent and its Elf-pistolier thrall. Now, light is retrieved and further torches lit and the Elf corpse in particular is stripped for loot. Jotunn maneuvers the heavy tower shield the Elf bore on his back: the ‘orb of floating’ has been caged to it with a couple of electrum rods, making it a mere 40lb. Cauleigh retrieves pistols, cartouche and bandolier. Leather armour and rapier, both magical, are carried.
The chamber beyond is long and echoes hollowly. Jotunn finds traces of a single goblin among serpent-tracks. Fennec finds an old and disused chimney-flue, possibly once a small forge.
Explore? The feeling is that there is a throne room waiting to be looted and loot gathered should be lugged back up to base camp. Then, questions of what to do next can be properly addressed. So with some effort the great double-doors, embossed with a deep-relief ape head on both sides, are pulled open; the serpent body dragged back through; then arranged across the closed doors as a gigantic draft-stopper-cum-door-wedge.
The throne room does contain loot, just as they thought at a quick previous glance. KK is used to remove a padlocked chain from a wooden tub, then tub, fine ebony box and huge Gnoll loot-crate are loaded up onto the heavy shield and the loot, perhaps 500lb in all, is ported back up without incident. En route, Fennec notes that at least one ape is still roaming: the ape-diner has been used.
Loot glorious loot
Healing is begun, magical/non-magical loot laid out, ponies watered and exercised, and much discussion both private and public takes place.
Each Dwarf save Crompton has a new novice-level skill, Dungeon Delver (+3 in certain circumstances in well-made dungeons). Crompton moves to apprentice-level in his Runebearer background skill.
The most welcome part of the non-magical loot are some dozen gems, a couple truly valuable. Silver ore, on the other hand, is less likely to be packed for departure.
As Omni-Eyes are completed:
Cauleigh attunes frostbrand, or ‘Regdar’ to give it its true name. The sword seems to have the soul of a northern Ice-barbarian in it. While Cauleigh can control it [made his L3 CHR SR this time] Regdar has its own opinion. For example it immediately rules out Cauleigh’s mace of stunting as a backup weapon!
Jotunn inspects the pistols but lacking a full manual will need time and proper daylight to familiarise himself with their use. Or a visit to a gunsmith. One pistol remains unfired.
Heartsease cleans the dead Elf’s leather armour up and tries it on. Not a bad fit, and it will protect her to much the same degree as her heavier non-magical gear.
Crompton experiments with the rapier, but it is too long for him. Heartsease is dubious about using it [it grants DEX stunts a bonus] but straps it on for the time being. Crompton tries Cauleigh’s mace of stunting but it is not made for his grip and would be just a silver-headed mace, less use than a standard mace.
Wolfie lazes contentedly, tummy still bulging with snake fillet.
Sage privately to Crompton: We are very interested in recruiting you! We need a good rogue.
A goblin thrall makes finding prisoners simple
The time has come for thoughts about the next foray. Cauleigh and Crompton put the case for exploring further west on level two; Jotunn strongly puts the case for exploring north. Fennec keeps his powder dry. No final decision need be made until the party – in full – returns to the last chamber explored, where the ape statues are. Fennec for one would like to examine them more closely to see if they are master controls.
But no: after various words are tried, the ape statues remain magical but unresponsive.
In the meantime Cauleigh and Jotunn become suspicious of the chamber: it seems as though something with very little strength has tried both the the door west and the double-ape-doors.
A pleading voice sounds from the latter. A goblin, speaking fairly fluent common. He begs not to be killed. He offers a pointer to the serpents’ lair, and prisoners.
Fennec hoists his jar o’ brain out of his pack and slugs back the liquid [L1 CON check OK] – Sixth sense! Yes, this goblin is sincere.
Peck, as his name is, was traded down here from hyena-men to black Dwarves and was gifted as useful to his serpent master for his small hands. He tended moss and weird plants.
Their new goblin ally knows only the most general things about the lair, but they do now have a direction. They head north, survive an attack by a third huge gargoyle-like ambusher (in which, Cauleigh learns that Regdar tends to declaim saga-lines), then east to a prison. In passing they find a huge sinkhole with ropes dangling down it: this is where the women and children of the black Dwarves have fled. Cauleigh pulls the ropes up.
In the wretched cells, four men and two women lie in a state of extreme dehydration and some degree of starvation. One man is beyond help, but an aged Hobb ‘pothecary named Snifter, a crippled Urukin dockworker named Kowlee (who turns out to be female, just playing along with the assumption she’s male) and a beefy eunuch scribe named Selano-Selano are brought back from the brink by careful water-dosing. They are survivors of Sanuel’s party, and they identify the hefty thrall slain on level one as ‘No-luck’ Ostarin, expert guide out of Perrol.
“When Sam’l hired ‘im, he was ‘Newluck’ Ostarin, oncet we got us caught, he d’clared it was ‘No-luck’ and we all agreed on that.”
The two women are bitten but not pregnant: they are Diamanda, a huntress, bereaved mother and widow out of the Jacob’s Spur region and Arianna, a settler’s bereaved widow and bakester out of the two-bridge area below Perrol.
Their information is that two pregnant women were still slave to the black Dwarves (sorry, they died) and two heavily-pregnant women, Rianna and Nanya, are in the snake-lair itself.
Given the health of the rescuees the Dwarves decide to evacuate them first, and let them rest at base camp, then mount a detailed search for the other two. Again, they manage the retreat without incident.
Crompton privately to Sage: No thanks; but Snifter with potion expertise, Peck with sneakiness, or even Selano-Selano with muscle would make good recruits.
The ledge of the serpents – final survivors, final pillage
Although Peck knows his master approached the lair in two different ways, they (wisely) stick to the way they know, and cross between the first great cavern and a similarly-huge one through another well-fashioned passage. There is a door on the right, but it shows no signs of being used, so they leave it be.
Their own instincts and Peck’s sense of direction locate an exotic fungus-hall running left off this second cavern – they leave it be – and they explore further, finding another vast sinkhole and on the far west face, a high-up and deep ledge.
Cauleigh and Jotunn take rope (which they now have in abundance) and chimney-climb up, then others are raised as need be.
Here is the lair of the serpents, the last two women, and all the useful and valuable junk the serpents accumulated off their captives and vassals.
Bundling women down in rope slings and valuables down in cloaks, they descend and retreat for the final time.
A desperate remedy succeeds
Rianna (bereaved settler’s widow from an inlet east of Joseph’s Inlet) and Nanya (bereaved widow of a sexton from over Briar Keep way) are half-term and near-full-term respectively. All the women are aware that ‘giving birth’ means death for the host. Desperate measures are discussed and various options canvassed.
Here, one of the new treasures comes into play. A pair of rough-finished leather bracers may grant Fennec the ability to cast Healing Feeling and Curses Foiled. [IQ SR, makes L5 where L7 would be ideal]
Having roughed out the plan with Snifter, Sage, and Fennec Cauleigh and Crompton convince the two women. [L4 CHR each, Crompton gives the assist]
Sage ‘loads’ the serpent fang with more poison and Snifter aborts both pregnancies while Diamanda kneels ready with knife and hot water. Fennec casts HF on both [is able to cast twice through the bracers without learning the spell] and the dead serpent fetuses and afterbirth are safely expelled!
[100 AP all round. A moral quandary taken seriously and well worked through]
Cauleigh finds the last farewell to Fort Cullis is painful
It’s time to go! Plans are now worked through for passengers, carrying out Trefoil’s body, retrieving the bones of the ancient paladin, surviving the death-eyes of the guardian statues, and sealing the caverns. With the footnote that the loot has by no means been shared, Peck is awarded one hyena-man axe (a two-hand axe for him) and a swag-sack of silver ore. Cauleigh and Crompton will escort him to the Whitespur headwater, from where he can head watershed-ways into goblin territory.
The master plan for sealing the dungeon is improvised more or less on the spot as they clear the ape-head ‘kill zone’ in the cricket-shrilling deep of a late summer night, and someone mentions working off the cliff face to fall.
Sage explains use of his fiendish two-part liquid, the better climbers clamber up and plant it, then things go more or less OK. There is a mighty flame, rocks crumble, sleeping apes are thrown down to their deaths, Dwarves throw themselves clear. Cauleigh levers himself painfully out from under rocks and limps over to Fennec for healing.
Bones gathered, farewell Peck – let’s away ere break of day!
While the main party guided by Jotunn rides and walks west Cauleigh Crompton and Peck walk south and locate the approximate area of the Gnoll pursuit and fight. By torchlight and keen goblin eyesight, a convincing number of probably-human bones are assembled. Then they push on until Peck can smell water; then bid farewell to their short-term ally. He swaggers off west into goblin legend – level two!
By dawn Cauleigh and Crompton catch up to Jotunn and the others, resting at ease in the trees by the brook. The prisoners are all on the way to recovery, and as the party falls to discussing when to strike out on the next leg the session ends.
Aggregated from Gnoll, Black Dwarf and Samuel of the Loam’s loot (and before possible redistribution to prisoners)
I include a price range, in gold pieces, to help with shares. Take a mid-point? But if you just plan to sell-and-scoot, take the low point. Some are distinctly collector items.
- Jade ring – battery [20000 – 45000]
- Ring of storing something spell-like (needs more info) [1000 – 3000]
- Ring of fire resistance [2000 – 26000]
- Staff of illumination (sword-length needle) [5000 – 45000]
- Temerity [10000 – 15000]
- Frostbrand [10000 – 30000]
- Leather armour, perma-tuffed [5000 – 15000]
- Proculo’s bracers for free HF/CF 1/day [4000 – 6000]
- Cube of permanent light-beam [2000 – 4000]
- Smoker’s pipe with concealed whistle of befriending demonkind [300 – 10000]
Semi-magic and one-use magic
- Complete-case polished iron helm [12 – 1000]
- Pegasus boots [33 – 100]
- Cursed book of kinky stuff (from the torturer’s luxury pad) [100 – 7000]
- Porcelain scroll-tube with scroll of archaic spells that can be studied (in the right environment) to produce up to date spell knowledge [250 – 15200]
- Scroll to protect vs medusa/mutandorum spells – seems to be able to cover up to eight targets [1600 – 4800]
- Scroll of enhanced wink-wing – 400′, cannot be cast lower level [500 – 1000]
- Scroll of enhanced portmanteau Ding-a-ling/Oh-go-away combo (three write-ups so three uses) [3000 – 12000]
- Flask of eyes (clairvoyance) potion [500 – 2500]
- Flask of fly-me potion [200 – 900]
- Tower shield with ‘orb of levitation’ on it to make it lighter [4000-16000]
- Good quality wizard’s staff (3d6+1) [100 – 160]
- Pair of top-quality enhanced-breech pistols with 24 magic-scribed ball – studying the scrimshaw with the right tutor may allow the student to apply the same Level 1 ‘spite hit’ to blunt weapons/musket ball as the L1 sure-blade spell [2500 – 13000]
- Finesse Rapier – best-quality steel (3+5) – DEX+5 when stunting [3500 – 12000]
- Gem-set ceremonial knife – with study an incantation may be applicable that would make it equivalent to magical [550 – 4900]
- Sticks of incense to aid in ritual casting [200 – 7000]
- Palm-size silver pentagram charm with gem – +5 on SRs against magic contests and will wreck ‘work or jinx’ spells like Dum-Dum [200 – 7000]
- Gold pear-shaped container for air elementals with ‘Tempestulu’ inscribed on bottom [55 – 490]
Some gold coin 
White-gold [electrum] bar [100 – 280]
A crap-ton of silver coin [9200 – 11800]
Some copper coin [30 – 40]
- Three thin-beaten sheets of copper with archaic incised script [3 – 1100]
- Giant otter pelt [800 – 4800]
- Fox pelts [200 – 300]
- Quite a number of gemstones ranging from cheap quartz and polished hematite up to three egg-size tourmalines worth several hundred gp apiece [1000 – 1500]
- Pearl-set axe-head [1500 – 9300]
- Unique glass or crystal box with inner compartments [1100 – 13000]
- Ebony and gold box [310 – 850]
- Torturer’s fancy ebony box with fancy dinner-set and cutlery [700 – 4200]
- Peculiarly specific surgical tools [900 – 17000]
- Steel tankard set with gems, the outline of a woman delicately inscribed on the side [23 – 138]
- Two different fancy scroll-tubes, both gem-set and gold-silver-inlaid [450 – 6000]
- A more businesslike scroll case bound in silver [35 – 105]
- Some really nice robes/long shirts that were inconvenient for fangs or used to pack around breakables [50 – 3500]
- Six glazed tiles with devil motif [14 – 126]
- Bronze false hand (with the same lock-in mechanism the tower shield has) – each ‘fingernail’ is a cheap gem [40 – 50]
- Really fine two-hand sword – unornamented but otherwise of top quality [800 – 1200]
- Fine quality two-hand sword [400 – 800]
- Well-fashioned beaten-iron broadsword blades [20 – 120]
- Longbow and case of arrows [120 – 150]
- A book with rare binding titled ‘The lich in the glass’ [100 – 2800]
- Four ape-skull upper hemispheres [0 – 200]
- Mummified shrunken black-Dwarf head [10 – 1000]
- Lantern and three flasks of oil for it [10 – 100]
- Steel abacus with petrified wood beads [15 – 500]
- Silver or bone single-note whistles [3 – 100]
- White-gold single-note whistle [60 – 130]
- Two different musical instruments, a tambourine and a flute, both gold-decorated [50 – 500]
- Two different parchment maps – one large scale archaic area map, the other of a different region [25 – 300]
- A long serpent-fang that Sage has rigged up to use with the original poison-sac [20 – 100]
Shaun has researched back and located the Herbals’ deal: one-tenth share of treasure plus a daily stipend of 45gp (450gp all up if you reach Ironbridge when I expect).
New spell-teaching will not form part of the loot-share since Sage reciprocates for Crompton.
Next session will be the finale for season three. Stay tuned!