Friday, September 30, 2016

Return to Dwimmermount: Episode 2

Image result for medieval mercenariesFighters Grimgor and Thanatos joined Maester Coleman the wizard and Luciru the archer in pooling their life savings to purchase a church charter that grants them access to Dwimmermount.

Given the choice to accompany a clerical expedition into the lower depths as guards or strike out on their own from the Red Gates, the four explorers voted unanimously to go it on their own.  It's not clear whether the deciding factor was the fear of what might lurk deeper in the mountain or an aversion to having to share any treasure recovered with NPCs.

They swiftly settled on a marching order with the fighters at the front and rear and the other two in the middle.  

Image result for headless statueAfter being startled by the headless statues in the Entry Hall, Luciru surprised everyone by abruptly dashing off with the only lit torch!  Coleman pondered lighting another until he realized that Luciru was carrying the group's bundle of unlit torches as well ...

"We're gonna get killed."

"He's gonna get us killed."

"Why don't you take a torch from him?"

"I don't have enough space -- I have a sword, a spear and a shield I'm not dropping any of them."

So Luciru, played by a complete novice, gleefully set the pace and direction for the march.  

Not long after passing the foot of a great, headless statue of Saint Mavors, the group (who paused regularly to argue) noticed dim light coming from an open door on their right.

"Light always means bad things are coming!"

"Oh no, I think I know what these are ..."

"I'm going toward the light."

"No way, I'm going left--we can get down to level two that way."

So by only the third room the party was ready to split up.  Maester Coleman asked if he could use his Prestidigitation to snuff out the torch, reasoning that Luciru would then be at his mercy to relight it by magic, and a more cautious course could be chosen rather than racing headlong toward any sign of danger.  However, he didn't get the chance for, as the sounds of something approaching grew louder, Luciru himself ground out the party's only real source of light against the wall of a wrecked laboratory!

"Okay, I didn't see that coming."

In almost any other situation this would have proven suicidal, but as the dice would have it, the figures approaching turned out to be a pair of human "penitents" from an earlier church expedition, bearing a torch of their own, who were doing their best to flee the dungeon.

"You had better run too!"

Luciru alone opted not to immediately follow the strangers as they darted past the party, waiting until he could hear distant howls and other ominous sounds or pursuit.  Only then did he try to sprint across a floor scattered with broken glass in the dark, earning himself a nasty bump and bloody palms in the process. 

Turning aside as the ragged church-thralls fled, Coleman used his magic to rekindle the torch and party came to a set of heavily ornamented double doors.

Image result for spider camouflage on wood

Though the others wanted to go a different way, Luciru, heady with excitement, instead heaved against one of the doors.  A hound-sized spider, it's body perfectly mimicking the hue and texture of the ancient portals where it waited, sprang upon the reckless Luciru.  He batted at it with his torch while it grappled him, and it would have ended badly but for his comrades.

Grimgor quipped, "I can't do anything to help you.  I'm going to open the other side of the double doors."

Coleman, however, despite his best judgement, used his Magic Missile (his only spell) to blast the creature and send it scuttling back into an unexplored chamber where Grimgor managed to finish it off.

The party scrounged some overlooked coins from among some rubble until the sounds of distant pursuit suggested that whatever had been chasing the penitents had turned its attention toward them and was drawing near.

Image result for wolf doorFinally acting in concert, the group withdrew behind the double doors and waited in ambush for the creatures.  Snuffling sounds were soon followed by a tug at the door--some shaggy beast had sniffed them out!

Grimgor thrust clumsily with his spear while Luciru loosed an arrow from behind him, narrowly missing the fighter and striking the scarcely-seen beast beyond.  It fled before this determined attack, and the party gave chase until their fleet-footed foe sped beyond their reach, at which point they returned to the Red Gates and slipped out of Dwimmermount.  Surprisingly all four of the adventurers escaped with their lives!

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