Remove curse (sort of).
Confused gnome, violent gnome,
Fish-men, not bad guys?!
Tonight's session was marked by an oppressive temperature. My players were good sports about it, but no longer will we play at my house if the forecast calls for temperatures that high. It made a session filled with some frustration less fun for them I imagine. There was a bit of bad luck involved also.
They started in the dungeon where we had left last week. They went down a hall, and Grigori opened a door. He was fairly explicit about not checking for traps, and indeed there was a trap on the door.
A Power Word, Kill.
Grigori was surprised not to find himself in limbo, but instead of Gehenna. Several evil acts had caused him upon his death audit to drift towards neutral evil, so he was being eternally tortured. The party tried several times to raise Grigori, the first by asking Klax. When the Eye of Klax appeared and asked him to serve him eternally in return for raising him he refused. Then the party scraped together the 3000 gold required in order to have Jerik the depressed cleric raise him from the dead. So an avatar of Moradin approached Grigori and had a small disscussion with him. Again Grigori refused to be raised, figuring in his gypsy way that it would only be a matter of time till he bartered himself out of this situation.
They took several 0-level characters after about an hour of talking to different hirelings, back into the dungeon. A serious half-orc named Morda Ibers, A sincere gnomeling named Guenevere Greevs, and a languid elf named Athunto The Green who has a tendency to refer to himself in the third person. The player of Grigori began preparing his next PC, a cleric/psionicist Gnome using our new old-school psionics suppliment. (Which is completely finished excepting the art, which we're adding. It should be out in a week or two.)
They returned to the dungeon and began to head in a different direction. Not five minutes later, they tripped another trap causing dozens of scythe blades to swing out of the ceiling, killing Morda Ibers, and critically wounding Zeltara in the abdomen. Zeltara suffered a cut Duodenum, "pains in his gut", and falling off his dragon, dropping all his weapons. The medic rushed to his aid, feeding him an extra-healing potion. This managed to keep from from dying due to the ruptured Duodenum (in 8 more rounds). But he still felt cramping and soreness inside. Morda's corpse was pinned to the wall, impaled by the scythe.
They moved on, wary and saddened by their terrible losses. This place is truly not as deadly as it appears. They are hampered by the lack of a real thief, and cleric, and a substantial bit of bad luck. There are many hundreds of thousands of GP and treasure in the first several levels of this place, and only one or two combat or trap encounters more difficult then the average party level. Granted, some is in the form of very heavy furniture and copper, but not most. :-) It is a combination of both bad luck and going where all the dangerous things are that seemed to make this place so deathtrapish.
There are a great many things my players are doing well. Kyra has taken up the mantle left by Spiritspyre and without fail seems to be gutting everything she runs across (and with good success tonight, finding two gems in the stomachs of those bastard porcupines, and learning that when you gut Wild Dire Rot Dogs, you find lots of worms and maggots living in their flesh.). Zeltara is role-playing his character to a tee while totally maintaining his effectiveness as the party beater. It's very fun to sit at a table and play with all my players.
They traveled past the trap and heard dogs to the south. One quick breath from Null, Zeltara's Drake, later and most of the dogs were dead. One made his morale roll and charged the party, right into Kyra's Polearm, which she had set against a charge. There were a couple of doors in the southern chamber, and while searching the doors and room for traps a random encounter was rolled and they encountered more "fish people". They talked with them for a minute, noticed they had a gnome with them in a bag. Aroldo asked what they were going to do with him, and the response was something like "Gulggluggulg well-bb we're probbbabbbly gulggulg gonna kill him or something." At which point the plan was surprise attack! Zeltara had Null use his Paralyzing breath and a round later they failed their morale rolls and the last two surviving surrendered.
In the following discussion, I could not manage to convince them to follow the "fish people" back to their home city, they got a bit of information (the come from the caverns to the north, watch out for the bears that live in those caverns) but despite the offers of a 'party' and 'come back and drink wine with us' the party refused, allowing them to go on their way as long as they promised never to come back. ("Yeah, blublublublub, surrrre thing, we promise that gluglug!") They rescued the gnome who was the new character.
They headed back and found two large (5' long) Toads with bright yellow and black markings. They just sort of sat there staring. Wisely they bypassed the toads. They also managed to not fall down the trap that dropped them to a lower dungeon level, which was nice. They found an ancient dining room with four skeletons of the strange Zunel, tall eldrich creatures with four eyes, along with a bit of silverware. Disturbing the skeletons caused them to crumble to dust, disintegrating before their eyes, except for one which had survived the centuries better than the rest. They grabbed everything in the room and decided to head back into town.