Cast of Characters:
Mordecai, a Cleric-4: Adam
Forlorn, an Elf-3: Bo
Mister Moore, Magic User-4: Mike
Grumble the Smug, Halfling-3: Nogal
Barzai, a Cleric-3: Z, recently promoted
Shy, a Fighter-3
Phat Kobra, a Dwarf-3
Zeke, a Fighter-3
Starkweather, a Thief-4
Hammers of the God: Spoilers
No sooner had the gaming kickoff music* finished, then the group unanimously decided to take the submarine ride - as opposed to leaving the dungeon. What's the worst that could happen? Rolling characters is easy.
The first order of business was to haul up the second submarine from "the other side" and see what was inside it. Shy and Kobra climbed the crane tower, with a light spell on Shy's sword, tied themselves to the ladder just below the cabin, and then Shy finished the climb to take on the zombie they expected. It was a quick fight, and then they hauled up the submarine (it took about an hour, taking turns cranking the winch).
They excitedly hurried down the beach to see it bobbing on the water by the shore. The bow men tried to keep a clear shot at the hatch, and then Shy popped it open. Once the seal was broken, it popped open with a whoosh and a large cloud of mold spores burst into the air. Time for saving throws!
About half the group missed the throw and sucked in too many spores, immediately losing their reason and going nuts (random madness chart). A few of the guys wanted to clamber on the sub and get more spores, the others tried to take important gear and chuck it into the whirlpool. Mister Moore decided to spell everyone, starting with web. Oh no, The Crazies!
Shy put Starkweather in a headlock, Forlorn tackled Mister Moore, but most of the drama was Barzai and Kobra trying to keep Mordecai from throwing his backpack (with a dozen cleric spells on scrolls) out into the water. Someone would snatch the backpack away, only for him to get it back next action. Eventually, Mordecai got frustrated by keep away, and just dragged himself and the dwarf into the water; by then, some of the other folks had come to their senses and Forlorn was able to toss Kobra a rope. Mordecai broke the dwarf's grip, insistent on drowning himself, and Kobra had to make a heroic effort to grab him again and let the others pull them both to shore.
Once everyone had the chance to recover, they decided to ignore Sub #2; it seemed like too much trouble to clean out the mold spores and risk more Mold Madness. They sealed it up and went to Sub #3. Sub 3 was empty. Were they ready to go now? No. The only thing they were ready to do was to agonize over the decision on the best way to use the subs and the cranes. The fact that there were cranks in the subs, and cranks in the towers, caused no end of consternation. Did they need to leave someone behind to operate the tower? Why else would the towers have zombie operators?
When the going gets tough, the tough go... to the library? They made their way back to the dwarf library and started pouring over the catalog listing again hoping for a clue about operating the subs and towers. The one named "Operations Manual" seemed auspicious, and a few hours later, the proscribed reading time, they confirmed it was a guide on how to use the submarines and winches. The big winch in the tower would let them ascend faster, but the smaller winch in the sub should still work to get back up. Everyone could go on the ride! They went back to the whirlpool.
They inspected Sub 3 and noted the winch inside the sub seemed jammed, so they opted for Sub 1 (which had zombies in it previously). They used ropes to secure everyone to the seats (the seat belts were gone), stowed their gear in the back, and used a light spell to see once the air tight hatch was closed. The trick was pushing off, having Shy clamber in, close the hatch, and get in position to let out the winch. The submarine spun around the whirlpool, slammed around a tunnel as it circled the drain and rushed quickly down, and then splashed into deep water after a moment of free fall. There was a crashing sound from the rear of the sub, where many of the glass vials and oil flasks shattered despite their efforts to anchor the backpacks. (That's what you get for filling up a backpack with 13 oil flasks).
The submarine continued to sink as it was pulled down by the current and flow of water; Shy had to crank it back to the surface. They opened the hatch and could see they were in a new cavern! Starkweather was picked to jump into the water and swim the submarine to the cavern shore.
As they paddled to shore, they could see statues of dwarves on the beach; gems glittered in their foreheads. Once on land, they could see a passage leading straight ahead out of the cavern, and over the lapping of the water and splashing behind them, it sounded like there was a crowd roaring in the distance. Was there an arena somewhere down the hallway?
Starkweather was on guard, and warned everyone that had just come ashore to turn around. Emerging from the water behind them were a handful of dwarf zombies. To be continued…
We've knocked our game time down from four hours to three the past couple of weeks as we've let a few of the 9 year olds (Nogal and Z) sit in on "the grown up game" as Nogal calls it, so I'm finding it can take a long time to play through a module.
*Gaming Kickoff Music: the only thing happier than a weekly D&D game is Monday Night Football, so I start every gaming session with the 70's theme from Monday Night Football - best of both worlds, baby!