After spending the better part of a week recuperating above ground in the City of Spires, the party has prepared itself to return to the Undercity. Better equipped and fully healed, the party descends again with a goal of further mapping the top layer of this section of the complex.
Marching order: Xevius the thief marches in front with the 10′ pole, checking for traps. Horatio and Thudok march behind in their heavy armor. Guldor and Candim, the men-at-arms, come behind them with lances prepared. Gadroom the magic-user follows with a torch. Huerl and Thoth, the last two men-at-arms, bring up the rear.
Into the Ruins
Gadroom lights a torch and the party sets out for the western corridor. The party is traveling at 75′ per turn (exploration speed), down from 90′ since Thudok is now weighed down by plate armor.
The party winds west and then north, but the tunnels are silent. They reach the long corridor.
Is the lantern still burning? +0: yes, but…
Xevius notes that the lantern in the corridor is different than the one that hung from its hook on their last delve. The party wonders who is maintaining them. They glance around, but there is no sign of anyone passing.
20 minutes have passed.
The party advances to the rickety wooden door in the south wall. They press their ears to the wood and listen carefully for noises beyond.
Listen checks: all four fail
The party stands back as Xevius checks for traps and then unlocks or opens the door.
Check for traps: 84 vs 14, fail
Xevius can’t find anything. Still wary, he tries to push the door open. It’s unlocked, and it swings wide without any trouble. Torchlight spills out of the open door, illuminating the corridor behind him.
30 minutes have passed.
8. Room of Hanging Lanterns
This large room is lit with the light of a dozen lanterns hanging from the ceiling on thick chains. The party checks for traps as they step over the threshold [but there are none] and hidden doors, treasures, etc., once they are inside.
50 minutes have passed.
The room appears to be empty, except for the dangling lanterns.
Anything odd about the lanterns? -2: x-yes
The party examines the lanterns. They’re shocked to realize that, trapped within the lantern bodies, are tiny men and women, screaming as they’re roasted on the flame. Horatio can’t abide this, and he tries to take one down.
Can he remove it? +0: x-no
He notices that the lanterns are welded to the thick chains that reach up to the ceiling. There’s no way he’d be able to get the lanterns down without a set of blacksmith’s tools. Without another option, he tries to simply open the lantern door.
Can he let the spirits out? +2: no
Do they die? +2: yes + event
As he opens the door, the inrushing air causes the flame to burn brighter for just a few moments. For a beat there is a horrific scream, and then a handful of ash is whisked from the lantern on the breeze. The flame and captive are gone.
A loud grinding fills the room–the chains are beginning to winch upward; the lanterns recede into the ceiling until their iron bases are flush with the fitted stone. The party wonders–someone in the city above is doing this intentionally?
The party rests and lights a new torch.
1 hour has passed.
The party returns to the corridor and heads west, then south. A chamber opens up before them!
1 hour, 10 minutes have passed.
9. Octagonal Chamber
Chamber contents: Dark, octagonal, door in the east wall, lined with heavy tapestries worth 200 gp, treasure(!)
The corridor opens in a dark chamber. The walls stretch out to the sides, and their flickering torch just reveals a series of heavy, ornately-stitched tapestries hanging on the far wall. A door stands in the east wall [note: I forgot that I’m using corridors for chambers and doors for rooms. Oops.]. There is no sign of movement within, so the party searches for traps before they enter.
1 hour, 20 minutes have passed.
They find no traps, but after searching the room they find a niche inset into the western wall holding an ornate nose ring and chain of worked silver. Xevius checks for traps in the niche [there are none], and then Gadroom takes the jewelry.
1 hour, 30 minutes have passed.
Did the elves already take this treasure? -6: no (phew! that clears this effect)
What is it? Silver nose ring and chain worth 300 gp.
They examine the tapestries and realize that they might be quite valuable to the right buyer, but it’s clear that they will be heavy and hard to move. They note them on the map and vow to return later.
Xevius examines the east door as the rest of the party stands back. It is made of molding wood.
Find trap roll: 66 vs 14, fail
The thin door appears untrapped, and it isn’t locked, either. He pushes it open, revealing a corridor that stretches outward.
They move 30′ down the corridor before they reveal another door in the northern wall and a passage that twists to the south-east. Xevius checks it for traps [find traps: 33 vs 14, fail] but finds nothing. The party stands back as he pushes it open–
And the floor falls out beneath him! Xevius twists back toward the ledge [save 14 vs 13, pass] and manages to scrabble against the wall to slow his fall as he plummets toward the spikes ten feet below.
Trap damage: 3
He lands, wounded but alive, between the spikes. The party lowers a rope and pulls him out of the pit before they rally and peer behind the door he just opened. They’re disappointed to realize that it simply reveals another unmarked corridor beyond.
1 hour, 40 minutes has passed.
The party heads north to ensure that there are no unexplored chambers behind them when they decide to press deeper. The wall corridor ends just a few feet ahead, though, with a heavily bound wooden door set into the west wall. Checking their map, the party realizes that the door wasn’t visible from the room of hanging lanterns. A secret?
As they’re investigating, though, the corridor behind them begins to glow with a faint light. Three fire beetles come skittering around the corner, climbing quickly around the door frame.
The party is caught from behind, but the beetles’ glow gives them enough warning that they are able to react quickly [party wins initiative in round 1]. Thudok charges down the corridor to strike at one beetle as the others prepare themselves behind him. His sword hews one beetle down, but the others refuse to scatter despite his rage. The men-at-arms behind him score a glancing hit on one beetle with their spears, but it isn’t enough to kill them. The beetles, though, land painful bites on both Thudok and Horatio, knocking them both down to 3 hp with their hits.
The fight quickly turning bad, the party decides to use everything they have got to ensure victory. Gadroom begins casting Sleep as Horatio begins to pray for healing. The party is lucky enough to act first, and the beetles collapse as Horatio’s cure light wounds eases some of his own hurt. The party kills the sleeping beetles and then closes the open door to catch their breath for a few minutes.
Wandering monster check: none
They return to the octagonal chamber, where they rest, light a new torch, and pull the heavy tapestry down from the wall.
2 hours have passed.
With the two rear men-at-arms carrying the heavy load, the party makes it way back to the surface.
2 hours, 40 minutes have passed.
Back in Town
The party emerges victorious back into the light after spending 2 hours, 40 minutes in the ruins. They have now spent a total of 7 hours, 30 minutes in the ruins.
They take deep breaths, reveling in the hot, dry, salty air of the City of Spires before returning to the inn to rest and recuperate.
The party recovered a silver nose ring and chain worth 300 gp. They also recovered an ornate tapestry worth 200 gp.
The party killed 3 fire beetles worth 15 exp each. They also gained 500 exp from the value of their recovered treasures, for a total of 545 experience points. They receive 136 base experience each (143/150 exp with bonuses).
The party decides to travel in town to sell their goods, rest, and shop for equipment upgrades. It takes them [1d4+1] 5 days to finish their chores. Each day they have 4 gp in costs to feed and house the party and 8 gp in wages and board for the soldiers.
Day 1: No Event.
The party travels to the markets to attempt to sell the goods they recovered from the sewers. They find a merchant willing to buy the silver jewelry that they found [CHA check: 7 vs 4], but he’ll only give them 100 gp of the 300 gp that they estimate that it’s worth. Gritting their teeth, they accept. However, he’ll give them the full 200 gp for the tapestry that they recovered, which they eagerly take.
The party gains 300 gp, which is split into 60 gp shares. Each PC takes one and each man-at-arms receives a 15 gp quarter-share, which they eagerly take.
Spent 12 gp to maintain the party. The PCs gained 240 gp.
Day 2: No event.
The party returns to the house of the noble that they met the previous week. Gadroom brought a carefully-copied and annotated version of their latest map, which they present to the noble’s seneschal. The man reviews it, seems satisfied, and hands over a heft purse containing 300 gp.
Spent 12 gp to maintain the party. The PCs gained 300 gp.
Day 3: No event.
Spent 12 gp to maintain the party.
Day 4: No event.
Spent 12 gp to maintain the party.
Day 5: No event.
Spent 12 gp to maintain the party. Over the course of this town visit, the party spend 60 gp and gained 540, for a net gain of 480 gp (120 gp per PC).
Thudok, Fighter 1 (458 exp). HP 9/9; AC 17 (plate + shield); Atk +1 (d6+1 sword); Purse: 152 gp 5 sp 5 cp; Inventory (7): sword, bedroll, waterskin, ration, hammer, spikes (4), 20′ rope
Horatio, Cleric 1 (480 exp). HP 8/8; AC 16 (band + shield); Atk +0 (d6 mace); Purse: 152 gp 5 sp 5 cp; Inventory (6): mace, bedroll, waterskin, ration, flint, torches (7); Spell: Cure Light Wounds
Gadroom, Magic-User 1 (458 exp). HP 5/5; AC 10 (robes); Atk -1 (d6-1 dagger); Purse: 152 gp 5 sp 5 cp; Inventory (8): dagger, bedroll, waterskin, ration, flint, torches (5), spellbook, mapping equipment; Spells: Sleep, Read Magic, Invisibility
Xevius, Thief 1 (458 exp). HP 7/7; AC 13 (leather + dex); Atk +1 (d6 daggers); Purse: 152 gp 5 sp 5 cp; Inventory (8): Dagger, dagger, thieves’ tools, bedroll, waterskin, ration, 10′ pole, 20′ rope
Men-at-arms (4): All standard hires except Guldor, who wears chain and shield now (AC 15). Guldor and Candim, in the second row behind Horatio and Thudok, carry lances to attack in melee.
Quick rule change: I’m going to be rolling 2d6 for wandering monsters each turn now instead of rolling 1d6 once per hour. This should prevent me from “holing up” the party come the end of each hour.
I’m also tired of rolling spiked pits and fire beetles. I think pits, beetles, and rats are very nearly the only encounters I’ve rolled so far, even though the tables are so large. Weird.
Another good session! I kept wanting to wrap things up but I was pulled forward by a sense of “what’s after the next roll?”. This is definitely the most engaging party-based crawl I’ve done (and I think 5 sessions is the longest any of my campaigns–posted or private–has ever lasted).