And so Ferdik and his loyal shieldmaiden Brunhilda recruited an elven thief, a witch, a goblin, a fighter, and a kitten before plunging down into level two.
A fey mood took Ferdik, however, and he wasn't in The Reliquary level long before he started poking behind a few of the many unopened doors that the explorers had passed by when spying out the stairs down to level three. Soon the quest was postponed and the hunt for loot was on.
|yes ... we had a kitten |
saturated in goblin blood
... don't judge, they're middle schoolers
[I used my little "Random Slime" 3x5 card to decide on color, diet and vulnerability for this particular beastie]
A tapestry depicting the saints of the Great Church was discovered and hauled away before the group came across a chamber scattered with coins and a few gems. Almost to the man they rushed in headlong and began scooping up whatever they could snatch (only Matilda the witch hung back), giving the pair of hellhounds lurking in ambush ample opportunity to take the group by surprise. Merk went down quickly and Matilda took to her heels, carrying the party's only other source of light, and so the fight that followed was largely conducted in the dark, lit by occasional flares of searing breath.
I was anticipating a fresh round of casualties, but the kitten (hissing and spitting) occupied the attention of the hounds for several rounds of the fight [I randomized who the monsters would attack]. Her single hit point didn't go far of course, but she did have nine lives after all.
Meanwhile, Donny the goblin made the best effort he could with his off-hand alongside the newly recruited elf and eventually the party prevailed, though they were a tattered, scorched bunch by the time they withdrew to Muntburg where we ended the session.
The following week, Ferdik the Goon once more led the group (this time nine strong) on their quest to reach level 3.
Ferdik the Goon (fighter 3)
Brunhilda (NPC fighter)
Merk (fighter 1)
Kermit (human? fighter 2)
Ghaul (elven thief)
New Guy (M-U 1)
Matilda (witch 1)
Donny the Goblin (hook-handed goblin 1)
Zekiel the Bard (bard 1)
They weren't far into the Paths of Mavors, however, before they were slowed by the heavy residues left on floors and walls by the constant, restless movements of Kitherian slimes.
"Oh yeah, we left that door open up there on level zero."
"Do you think the rope is still there?"
"Hey, you should use your levitation potion [recovered last session] to go close that door."
Taking a detour to look at the Great Shaft, the route that they suspected all the strange oozes overrunning level one were coming from, the group found the vast main hallway blocked by a thick, ragged, yellow curtain that extended into the gloom of the arched ceiling high above. They had been this way a number of times before, but had never seen anything like this before. Ferdik strode forward with confidence, slashing at the curtain, and it promptly detached itself from the stone, revealing itself to in fact be an immense, fleshy slime.
Ferdik thrust himself free of the fatty folds of the thing, even as it began to secrete digestive juices, but Merk and Brunhilda were trapped under its bulk!
A grim tug-of-war followed for the next several rounds as the party either slashed away, trying to free their trapped teammates, or stood around and gaped.
Finally, their friends dragged loose, Ferdik unleashed the group's last flask of alchemist's fire, immolating the horrid thing's fatty bulk and unleashing gouts of greasy, acrid smoke.
The new wizard (alternately called "Stick-boy," "Stickly," "Wizard X," or "new guy," throughout the session) was able to get Brunhilda back on her feet with his Cure Light Wounds Spell and so, leaving the flaming ooze blocking the hallway, they retreated back to the middle of level one.
Having noticed some old paw prints in the dried slime, Ferdik abruptly tabled the party's quest and headed off to track whatever strange creature had left the marks behind. Meandering through a few rooms, they came once more to the head of a second set of steps descending steeply into Dwimmermount's second level.
The crew had been here before a time or two over the last few months of real-time but, as before, the path downward was blocked with a carpet of deadly yellow fungi. The corpses of several boar-men, now cloaked in spore-bearing orbs, made gentle mounds under the yellow mass.
Recalling the lethality of the mountain's fungus, Ferdik called an immediate retreat, but Zekiel had ideas of his own and he slid his prized book of musical notations along the floor in an effort to burst as many of the spore nodules as he could. His efforts were immediately successful and, apart from a brief episode in which Kermit entered the room and starting eating the mold by the handful before being dragged away by Denny, the party was able to escape while the spores settled.
The group left the mountain and finished the session listening to Zekiel perform an impromptu stand-up routine in the Green Dragon Inn.