In which our player characters were subdued by a Sleep Spell, robbed blind by a trio of villainous elves, and praised by a gang of berserkers.
These unfortunate events happened after the group spent too much time searching the hallway outside the first junction, and were taken unawares by "wandering monsters", a trio of dark elves (Dokkalvir). The guards didn't notice them coming down the north passage, until the elves were close enough to hit the party with a Sleep spell. Sleep and 1st level characters is a bad combination. Borghild the cleric was left awake, but she succumbed to an Elven Charm spell that was cast by one of the others.
After Borghild helped her new friends borrow various pieces of party treasure, she even helped prepare the sleeping Agnar for a visit to go see the Queen of the dark elves, Mab. "She likes the handsome humans", the laughing elf told her, "but we'll make sure your friend is well taken care of when we get him back to Svartalfheim". Agnar was quickly trussed and carried off by the dexterous elves, who were careful not to wake anyone.
"Be a good dear and let your friends rest a bit longer," they said as they carried off both the loot and Agnar. "We'll be sure to bring back the silver at our first opportunity, and Agnar will be so relaxed after a stay with the Queen". Multiple failed saves ensured that Borghild trusted the assurances of her new friends implicitly.
While waiting for them to awaken, which took hours, there was time for a gang of berserkers to come stalking in from the east. More wandering monsters is what happens when the entire party falls asleep in a high traffic dungeon crossroads.
"Well, well, well, what have we here… a wee woman, all by her lonesome in a big dark passage," said a leering berserker.
"Hey, what do you make of all this," said another one, peering around and seeing all the sleeping guys. "There are guys all over the floor here, sleeping."
This caused some consternation in the berserkers, who were dumbfounded that anyone would make a camp right in the middle of a dangerous hallway. "When you're the baddest dude in the dungeon, I guess you sleep where you want. Look at that fat dwarf on the floor, snoring like a baby, not a care in the world. You wanna wake him up? Momma always said don't kick a hornets nest. Let's roll, brothers."
In this way, the group avoided being slaughtered in their sleep by a gang of berserkers, who instead gave Borghild the universal tough-guy head bob, flashed some peace signs, and stalked off looking for easier prey. Random reaction rolls FTW.
That whole sequence of getting spelled to Sleep happened about halfway through the night, after the party explored a number of rooms near the junction, ran into a couple of other small Viking groups along the way, and dealt with a psychotic "plastical", a rubbery plastic alien swinging a mean wrench.
Much later in the evening, after the group awakened from the magical Sleep and dealt with the loss of Agnar and their treasure, they marched north a few hours to the mist dungeon and resumed exploration. On a previous visit, they had secured various hatches open to clear out the mist, and now they were able to clearly see the contents of a large room that had clamshell doors in the floor opening into a yawing chasm; there was a second pair of clamshells in the ceiling, leading to the ruined surface of the city. Perhaps this is the alternate entrance to the dungeons they've been seeking?
The Dokkalvir had let slip that one of the party's gems was an "orange passkey", which confirmed the group's suspicion that there was something going on with all of the red gems they'd been finding. The last time they were in the clamshell room, they were stymied by a door they couldn't open, and it had a red flashing light next to it. Now Shamus approached it with one of the red gems held out, and the door whirred and slid open, revealing a room beyond.
This game report is getting a bit long, so I've got to wrap things up. They found a lot of interesting stuff in the rooms beyond the red blinking door, levers that controlled hooks in the ceiling of the clam shell room, a pylon of blinking gems, and a secret storage that had metal discs and a cool belt. Lots of stuff to play with. There was a slot in the base of the pylon for inserting one of the discs, and the group was treated to a short holographic movie (with a real alien grey) apparently explaining the operation of the levers, along with how to give commands to a large metal automaton, though they didn't understand the alien's clicking and buzzing language. The belt that was found had a dial on it that made the wearer float up and down, lighter than air, similar to a levitation effect. They were delighted. Now it seemed like there could be a viable way to exploit the clamshell door entrance, rigging some kind of repeatable way to enter through the ceiling.
Unfortunately, we're off to the shore this weekend (last ocean visit before fall) and I've got out-of-town company next week, so it appears we'll have to skip a few weeks before the Black City continues.