It was another record night at the Basement games with a total of 13 players and 2 DMs. It is about time to seriously consider a third table. My table had 6 players – the same 6 who played last week, so I will dispense with introductions. The DM Jr had 7 at his table, including one or two new kids (its hard to keep track, they’re all so short.) It was rather funny when, just before we wrapped up for the night, I did an informal poll to see if anyone wanted to try out DMing. I got very little response from the adult table, but 5 of 7 hands shot up from the youth table, so we will see what happens, but if we get even one or two new players, it will become a necessity. All in all, it was one of the most fun night of encounters yet.
(Im not sure what all shenanigans go on at the youth table. It is loud and raucous, and I have a sneaking suspicion my son the dm is much looser in his interpretation of the game than I am, but the kids spend the whole time howling with excitement, so he must be doing something right. They also seem to finish earlier than my adult table, which is something I need to investigate. An example of the suspicious goings on at the youth table: last week his encounter ended at 7, and I knew I had at least half an hour left so I told him “Add something, some role playing to stretch it out longer” and the next thing I know, they were fighting a fully armed space marine. Ooookay…. I try not to delve too deeply into the goings on of the youth table. Perhaps sometime I can convince him to add a re-cap of his game, but maybe that is something best left unwritten.)
So the heroes of Hammerfast were resting from their recent run-in with the undead. The rotting corpses of dwarf zombies and ghouls littered the entry way of the ruined monastery, and as they rested, Jarren performed a search of the chamber. He determined that at some point in the past the room had been ransacked and there was nothing of interest. The door leading further into the monastery looked untouched, and the rogue moved to investigate. He found no traps, and was able to pick the lock with ease. He stepped back to allow the dwarf to kick open the door. The doors swung in and the dwarf put his booted foot onto the threshold leading into a long, dark, dingy corridor.
But as his boot came down, a change came over the hallway, proceeded by a pulse of magic that was felt more than seen or heard. In the wake of the arcane pulse, the hallway suddenly flared into light, with flickering torches lining the walls, and instead of mottled crumbling plaster on thestone walls, colorful frescoes were shown. Suddenly from the end of the hallway a group of adventurers stumbled, looking like they were retreating. Some limped, and some had crude bandages, and leading them was Salazar, looking younger and more alive, leaning heavily on his sword for balance. An eladrin next to him said they must recuperate before they face Actherimos again. They then rounded a corner and disappeared from sight.
Jarren was interested in two of the characters in Salazar’s band, a wizard and an illusionist, and noticing the arcane wielders, he rushed down the hall to the turn, and found them gone at a solid closed door. In addition, the vision had ended and the hallway was back to its prior dingy look. The dwarf came forward to give another booted kick to the door, and it swung forward showing an empty dark room.
Kinara the drow ranger was able to peer into the darkened room and she saw what looked like some kind of barracks room, with four small cots and a chest at the bottom of each. The room looked relatively unmolested since its abandonment. Hagen Fargrim andf Jarren stepped into the room, and instantly it was brightened with another vision as Salazar and his Silver Company comrades rested from their wounds. They spoke of Actherimos the dragon, and then the vision ended. The name Acttherimos rang a few bells, as he was a legendary dragon of immense power, said to be called an earthquake dragon. Where he went the earth trembled, and he was especially hated by dwarves, who hated trembling earth. In times past he posed a grave threat to Hammerfast and environs, but nothing had been heard of the terror for decades. Jarren determined that the visions were replays of past events, caused by the proximity of the arrow of time.
Even as he was making these connections, figures covered in dirty sheets were rising from the 5 beds. They were ghouls. And another massive insectoid creature reared its head from the far corner of the room. It was a carrion crawler, and it looked like an enormous centipede with hooked tentacles lining its multiple clacking jaws. Battle was joined.
In the first round Fargrim charged the crawler, and struck, but it retaliated by wrapping its tentacles about the dwarfs neck, then trying to pull him along the floor. The dwarf dug his heels in and wouldn’t be pulled, so instead the crawler began scuttling up the wall until it was in the upper corner of the room ,and the dwarf was dangling down, his wee boots kicking ten feet ofrf the floor as the tentacles tightened about his neck. The five ghouls charged the line of heroes at the doorway, keeping them from entering further into the room.
Erimikus could not be stopped that easy, and did a back flip over the ghoul in front of hi, then he continued doing backflips across the room until he was behind the crawler, and through a dagger. The rest of the party attacked the ghouls in front of them, unless they could get a step back, like the wizard. He tossed a lightning bomb into the room which lit up the crawler and three ghouls.
Hagen and Valenae slammed their enemies with their war hammers, and the ranger Kinala backed into the corner so she could fire an arrow into the crawler. It hit the creatures head and cracked the hard shell covering it. Brainy goo began bubbling out and running down the carrion crawler, but it had no deleterious effects on the insect.
The dwarf was dazed by the tightening tentacles but his arms were free so he did what he knew best, and swung his axe. The head parted from the body of the centipede and they both fell to the ground, Fargrim riding it down like a surfboard over a steep wave. He took minimal damage and stepped off the corpse of the centipede unscathed even though the tentacles continued to hold tightly around his neck. He soon shook them off.
Erimikus, behind the enemy lines, was not faring so well, as a ghoul charged him with its icy cold claws. The elven rogue was slashed mightily and fell to the ground. It wouldn’t be so bad except both clerics were having a hard time of it, Hagen especially. Two ghouls surrounded Hagen Das and took out large spoons and began eating the tub of ice cleric. One cleric slashed with his claws of doom, paralyzing the cleric with the cold chill of death. So struck, the second ghoul leaned in and began chewing through the clerics mid-section, tugging on his kidneys. The cleric dropped.
Kinala the drow ranger was backed into a corner and had to take out her longsword and slash at the ghoul before her. Her sword bit deeply into its decaying flesh, but not enough to slay the foul beast. The beast retaliated with a savage clawing, and the elf, already knocked well below her bloodied value, was instantly slain by the savage blow. Her lifeless form dropped to the gorund.
It was desparate and Valenae had to do something, so she cast a healing spell that gave everyone temporary hit points. This caused the newly slain corpse of the drow rogue to rise again in a semblance of life, but she somehow kept her consciousness and morality, becoming a revanent. The ghouls were dropping by this time,along with the party, and Erimikus, now conscious, crawled up onto a bed, and slinked under its sheet to rise up, sword flaming, and strike the head off the last ghoul, victorious.And so ended the battle – another dead elf ranger. I have killed characters on 4 separate occasions, and the whole party once. Of the 4 unique character deaths in 4 seasons of encounters now, 3 of them have been elf rangers. Coincidence – I don’t know! On a side note, the character Kinala who mysteriously came back to life (mostly because she looked so sad sitting there with nothing to do) I am going to bring in a second level drow vampire for her to use if she wants, next week, or let her play as a revenant ranger, if she wants to go that route. Heh.