Monday, December 7, 2015

Dwimmermount with Middle Schoolers -- IX

Image result for fab five
Having returned from the city-state of Adamas, "The Fabulous Five" (yes, there are actually six of them ... middle school humor is often inscrutable) prepared to press ahead toward what they felt fairly sure would be a hall leading down to the second level of the ancient mountain-fortress.  However, just as they were about to cross the threshold, Vale suddenly remembered the pile of treasure they had left heaped behind the iron door when Hakka was first possessed, then dissolved.  They had filled sacks, pockets and pouches with that first big haul, but there simply had been too much wealth to lug away in one trip.  After arguing about whether or not to split the party, the adventurers executed an about face and, with reference to Y'draneal's trusty map, hastened back to the opposite side of the first level.

"This should be it.  Do we see the iron door?"

"Nope.  The room is heaped with smashed furniture and dust."

"What about the next room?"

"It looks like it was some kind of larder long ago, but it has been completely emptied of edibles and all that is left now are some collapsed shelves and bits of broken crockery."

"Wait ... this isn't the right place ... "

Image result for black skeletonChecking their map a bit more carefully, the group corrected their course and started off for the forgotten treasury again until Curteff noticed a strange, regular seam in the left hand wall of one passage -- a secret door!  All else was instantly forgotten as the explorers jostled to be the first to explore this previously-overlooked area.  When the columns of chamber beyond released animated, black, metallic skeletons, the group made short work of them.

Image result for marble head femaleA bit of treasure was recovered, including a large marble head.  When Ivor thought he saw something moving in Y'draneal's bag of loot, the sack was hastily dumped it out, but apart from some gems and silver nothing seemed remarkable.

Vale insisted on marching back toward the entry hall in hopes of fitting the head (carried by Hethla) onto one of the statues there, but coming once more to that chamber, Curteff drew up short at the sight of a platoon of rats, moving past in a quick but orderly line.  Blaze the wizard had purchased a mastiff in Muntberg, and now they loosed the dog upon the rats, but when Vale spoke to one of the creatures she was surprised when it chittered an answer.

"Comprehend Languages!"

Image result for rats of nimhSoon Vale had called off the dog and was learning quite a bit from the rat, who had come with his platoon all the way from Adamas at the behest of "The Rat King."  Negotiations ended abruptly, however, when (for no apparent reason) Blaze blasted the rat into oblivion with a Ray of Frost.

Vale was incensed, but still lingered long enough to return the marble head to the statue of Saint Tyche.

Just then, Y'draneal keeled over with a scream, his back awash with blood!

Image result for scarab of deathA quick glance revealed that something had chewed out of his haversack, pierced his mail shirt, and was steadily boring into the hapless elf.  Ivor and Blaze worked to extract the attacker while Grim gave the thrashing elf dose after dose of the precious healing potion he brought from the city.  Finally pulled free, the attacker proved to be a small, animated jewel that had sprouted several sharp legs.  Ivor hastily smashed the strange thing with his mace while Y'draneal faded in and out of consciousness.

About this time, another rat dashed through the chamber, carrying a pilfered talisman and leading a pack of angry beastmen directly onto the group!  It seemed that Blaze's treachery was not o be forgiven by the rats!  Blaze killed the rat, but soon fell under a volley of javelins and hurled axes.  Vale and Hethla retreated toward the Red Gate and the outside world while Grim and Ivor helped Y'draneal up the steps.  Alone, Curteff held the doorway against the onrushing beastmen, suffering many wounds before the pack was finally repulsed by his flashing sword.

Over Vale's protests, the bloodied Curteff dragged Blaze with him (who proved to have been merely stunned after all) as he staggered back into sun-lit lands.

Overall, this was a strange session in which sudden impulsiveness drove the action far more than any other elements of the megadungeon ... but then again that's part of throwing down with a middle school crowd.

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