The Undercity: Session 3

Our last session ended with the party still in the dungeon, wounded but alive after killing 3 zombies in some kind of twisted experimentation room (5).

Undercity: Session 2 - Map 2

The party rearranges itself so that Horatio the cleric and one of the unwounded men-at-arms are in front, while Guldor and Thudok take up the party’s lances and stand behind them.

Reminder: You can read all of my session posts on the Campaign Logs page.

This campaign has a companion page featuring PC stats and a map.

Into the Ruins

5. Zombie Room

The party searches the room for treasure but finds nothing. Disappointed, they regroup and return to room 3 to search another open chamber.

1 hour, 30 minutes have passed.

3. Frescoed Hall

Is the fire beetle still here? :+0: x-yes

The hall glows with the light of a pair of giant beetles that clamber over the statue of the leering king and the ornate frescoes that line the walls of the room. The party tightens their grips on their weapons; a single of the beetles looks like it would be a tough fight. The appearance of the beetle’s mate makes the situation even more dangerous.

Is either party surprised? No
Reaction check: 6 (neutral)

The party is wary, but the beetles pay them little heed as they cross the room and head into the southern corridor.

Stinking Corridor

The stink of rotting vegetable matter is nearly stifling as they pass down a long corridor of rough-cut stone. A light glows faintly up ahead, and the party prepares themselves.

1 hour, 40 minutes have passed.

6. Refuse Chamber

Description: Lit by clay pots in alcoves; putrid refuse smell; empty

Heaped piles of garbage fill the room. Narrow paths twist between the heaps. Another corridor leaves to the north of the chamber. The party searches the room, but finds nothing of value.

1 hour, 50 minutes have passed.

The party rests and lights a new torch.

2 hours have passed.

Wandering Monster check: 1 vs 1. Encounter!
11 giant rats

As the party gathers its things and prepares to leave, a cacophonous chattering fills the air. The party moves together as a mass of dog-sized rats pours out of the open corridor and swarms onto the mounded garbage.

Reaction check: 7 (neutral)

The party stands motionless as the rats begin devouring the refuse, but they pay no attention to the men of the party. The party moves north into the corridor beyond.

Corridor

The nondescript corridor wends north 40′ before coming to a staircase. The party shines their torch down the stairs; the landing is visible just a dozen feet below. They retreat, though, unwilling to descend further into the depths.

6. Refuse Chamber

Are the rats still in the chamber? +2: yes
Reaction: 7

The rats are still swarming over the massed garbage. The party is grateful for the distraction as they make their way carefully through the stink and return to the statued king’s hall.

2 hours, 10 minutes have passed.

3. Frescoed Hall

Are the beetles still present? +4: no
Anything else? +0: x-no

The chamber is silent and dark when the party returns. Without the threat of the massive insects, the party takes a few moments to view the frescoes that cover the walls. What do they see?

Description: Defeat/Purity

The paintings are stained black with mold and moisture, but through the staining the party sees paintings of a red-haloed man–a king?–in various scenes of dominating violence. Here he is killing an armored rival; here he is leading a host into battle; and here he is deflowering a pile of white-robed girls. In the last scene his red halo has transformed into a set of red wings, spread behind him like a flowing cape.

(I actually love that I got purity again. It ties so well to the purity mosaic the party found in the southern corridor. I’m consistently amazed at the cohesive story one can make using these oracles.)

Turning away, the party heads into the northern corridor.

Undercity: Session 3 - Map 1

7. Flooded Chamber

Description: dark, flooded, treasure (finally!)

The party moves east into a chamber that slopes gently downward. Ahead of them, their torchlight illuminates a pool of dark water that fills a small chamber.

2 hours, 20 minutes have passed.

They probe the water and check the entrance for traps before wading in, but find nothing.

2 hours, 30 minutes have passed.

Treasure roll: ancient coins worth 100 pp are stored in small pottery jars, trapped with poison gas.

On the far side of the room, a handful of earthen jugs rest on a small ledge just above the water line. Moving carefully, the party wades through the lukewarm, waist-deep water to the jugs. They look unremarkable.

The party steps back as Xevius examines them.

Find traps roll: 6 vs 14, success!

He notices a hairline string wound around the lid of one of the jars–poison or acid, he decides. Carefully, carefully, he has the party move the jars out of the water and places them on the dry corridor floor outside the chamber. Then, stepping back, they smash them open with the 10′ pole.

A thick powder puffs into the air when the jars are broken, but the party retreats into the frescoed hall for a few moments, until the powder dissipates.

In the shattered remnants of the jar they find [90 + d20 = 105] 105 ancient coins of some unknown minting. Even after the untold generations since they were in circulation, the coins still glitter with an inner silver light.

Xevius adds 105 ancient coins to his inventory.

The party is ecstatic with the find: after several dangerous encounters and many hours spent underground, they’ve finally found enough coin to fund future expeditions. Even the men-at-arms are grinning at the prospect of their quarter shares, worth more than a month’s wages earned in a single afternoon.

The party now stops to discuss whether to continue their expedition or return to the surface to spend their newfound wealth. It is close, but they decide to push a little further, since Gadroom still has the power of a spell at his disposal in the event that they encounter trouble.

3. The Frescoed Hall

They move west through the frescoed hall and into the corridor beyond.

Lantern-Lit Corridor

They move into a corridor of tightly fitted stones and rough-hewn flagstone floors. A  light in the distance: they move cautiously, but it is only a cheap lantern hung from a hook in the wall. Who is supplying it with oil?

2 hours, 40 minutes have passed.

They press onward, passing a moldy wooden door and a side passage that both head southward. Not much farther than that, the party notices that the corridor has begun to change. The floor here is cracked and uneven, and the damp air has taken on a salty tinge. Are they getting close to the sea? Distances below ground feel odd.

2 hours, 50 minutes have passed.

They rest and ignite a new lantern

3 hours have passed.

Wandering monster check: 1 vs 1. Encounter! (8 brigands)
Skirmishers (4): F1; AC 12; Atk +0 (d6 sword or bow); MV 40′; ML 8
Fighters (4): F1; AC 15; Atk +0 (d6 sword); MV 30′; ML 8

As the party gets up and begins to move onward, Candim notices a light burning down the corridor that wasn’t there before. A moment after that, voices–human ones. Men are coming!

The party grabs up their weapons and prepares themselves.

Are the brigands hostile? +2: x-no (!)
Do they flee? +0: no

The other band approaches cautiously, and their leader hails the party when they are within sight.

What are they doing in the Undercity? Discover/Superstition

He explains that they mean no trouble, but have been hired by a local priest to recover some bauble of the church, lost in the city in ages past. He has reason to believe it is somewhere deep below.

The party shares directions with them to the stairs beyond the frescoed hall, warning them of the presence of giant rats.

The band is grateful for the information and moves off into the darkness. [We will get a reaction bonus if we meet these men again.]

The party, sweating and grateful for the peaceful conclusion to what could have been a deadly encounter, agrees to return to the surface and rest and rearm before descending again later.

Undercity: Session 3 - Map 2

Conclusion

Finally, treasure! After three sessions without rolling so much as a copper piece, it’s good to know that my expeditions have finally borne fruit. I’ll be doing bookkeeping for kills, treasure division, exp, etc., at the start of my next session.

We have managed to avoid combat several times so far, thanks to mythic/reaction rolls. I’m trying intentionally to avoid fighting everything we meet.

After reading the LL rules more carefully, it seems clear that the authors of the games don’t intend for parties to fight everything they encounter, in sharp contrast to the later editions and video game varieties. It certainly makes for a more flavorful adventure. It now feels like a living, breathing dungeon, and I even have a side quest: if my party can find the referenced bauble, perhaps the priest would pay us for it, as well!

We’re also doing a good job fleshing out the backstory here, with the information about the ancient kings becoming more involved as we discover these mosaics and frescoes. I’m actually excited to find more “history” pieces as we delve.

Hope you’re enjoying following along!

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