In which a terrible monster from the screaming void is granted entrance to the realm of man, and a henchman takes an arrow to the face.
Cast of Characters
Agnar Beigarth, a Northman fighter (L2)
Mustafa of Arabia, a scimitar wielding desert warrior (L2)
Brutok the Strong, a dwarf (L2)
Borghild, a Norse cleric of Odin (L2)
Timur, Russian Elf (L1)
Vitaly, Russian Elf (L1)
Dominicus, Byzantine magic user (L1)
Retainers with the party:
Tribunas, Byzantine magic user (L1)
Brick Bunnybreaker (halfling L1)
Ayerick the Young (Fighter L1)
Bjorn Fjordrunner (Fighter L1)
Bottvild (cleric L1)
Ivar the Bow-bender (specialist L1)
We had our full crew this week - all 7 regulars! With henchmen, that makes them a veritable army tromping through the dungeon. When they ran into some mean looking NPC's in one of the junctions, the gang of Visin Thorsteinson, Thorsteinson ceded the path, letting the party continue on to explore a new area of the dungeon.
Little did the players know Thorsteinson and his raiders were laying a nasty ambush for when they emerged from the newly discovered western section of the Adamant Dungeon.
There were a couple of typical dungeon fights along the way that the party handled adroitly through Sleep spells - flying, wingless dragonflies with buzzing tails, and a room of Morlocks. Things got interesting when they found a control room overlooking a large series of apparatuses (like huge, sparking tesla coils) and what appeared to be a magic portal in the center. Naturally, they wanted to mess with the beds of glowing crystals that operated as controls.
"Don’t touch it man", opined Brutok's player. "Every time we touch these things, it turns out it's already set up for good things, and then bad things happen when you mess with the controls because you don't read Alien".
Yes, but even if the players are told it's the shiny red button that erases history, they cannot resist the red button, the candy-like red button. And I love them for it. In this case, one of the control beds was scrambled, and a horrible invisible monster came through a portal from the screaming void; it was mostly invisible, but the players could see it's fearsome shadow against the far wall, illuminated by intermittent flashes from the electrical coils.
It got worse when they messed with the other control bed, as the coils exploded down in the room, and then everything went dark. They could hear the monster, caught in the explosion, screaming in rage.
They ran for their lives a moment later when the enraged creature started smashing on the heavy duty translucent material separating the control room from the large chamber it overlooked. Scratch marks appeared down the glass-like surface, and fine cracks began to form where it pounded against the window. They didn't wait around long enough to see if could break through.
Back out in the main junction, they blundered right into Thorsteinson's ambush; his group waited in the dark - thieves with bows hiding in a secure shooting area, while the melee men lurked in a side passage. The archers opened the ambush when the group approached the side passage by releasing a deadly volley, and then Thorsteinson's fighters roared out toward the party flank.
Bjorn, one of the henchmen who had been with the group since the beginning, took an arrow to the head and was killed instantly. One or two other front line fighters were dropped by the arrows (double damage sneak attack style). When the party reacted, their two female Odin clerics ran berserk down the hallway at the archers, spears out in front, and impaled one of the archers, killing him instantly - it was a glorious moment. Then the rest of the group reformed a front line to try and handle Thorsteinson's fighters.
Most of Thorsteinson's men were 2nd or 3rd level, so this wasn't an easy fight, and it looked like multiple characters would be ascending to Valhalla. Elves and magic users, not accustomed to combat, were forced to engage furious axe-men bearing ring mail and shields. But the party's numbers were too great, and Thorsteinson miscalculated how injured the party would be after coming out of the west wing; had the party explored deeper and depleted themselves further, this really could have been a TPK.
Instead, Thorsteinson called out for a truce during a break in the swings, asking if the party would accept terms since it was clear he was going to lose. (He threatened to fight to the end if no oath was forthcoming, so the party accepted his surrender to avoid losing anyone else). Thorsteinson and one of his men relented, giving up their loot and their arms, in return for the party agreeing to take them back to Trade Town and ransom Thorsteinson back to his ship. "Alive, I can pay a blood debt and ransom for the man we've killed; dead, and my crew back there will never stop trying to avenge me".
The players were really hot blooded - this was a nasty ambush, and Bjorn was well-liked - but Agnar made an oath, and they wanted the extra ransom money. Thus, Thorsteinson was disarmed and bound, ready for the long march of shame out of the dungeon.
Note: I've skipped details here and there, particularly around treasure. At this point, the party has amassed quite a ton of wealth and pent-up experience! I think they'll be heading out next week.
With the death of Bjorn, here's how various characters have died in the Black City:
Bjorn: Shot in the face during an ambush.
Gareth Bellringer: Possessed by a ghost and marched into a death trap.
Dag the Unwashed: Blown up by Seamus.
Seamus the Gallic Mage: Died fiddling with the unstable Hyperborean artifact.
Uther the Orphan-Poet: Shot in the neck by a bandit.
Falki Auldason: Killed by a gjenganger.
Kolfina Ian Svarti: Killed by a gjenganger.
Irena Edvards: Killed by a gjenganger.
Molnar the cleric: Lost his grip on a rope and fell into the abyss.
Arthur the Thief: Killed by a gjenganger.
Hring the Twig-belly: Covered in oil, burned alive while rats were eating him.
Herap: Killed by a gjenganger
Agdi: Possessed by the ghost and marched into the death trap.
Galm: infested by a devil wasp and turned into a villain
A few guys left when they failed morale checks in between adventures: