|Session 16: Subterranean Semi-Secession|
|Real World Date||November 15th, 2014|
|Game Date||May 13, Year 0|
|Location||Secret dungeon under Syrila's castle|
Session 15: Preempted by Pillagers
Session 17: Hosted by a Hermitic Hag
Namfoodle nearly dies, then nearly leaves, then nearly dies, then nearly leaves.
The Party dives into a magically darkened dungeon filled with traps and monsters. After being berated and bloodied much more frequently than usual, Namfoodle decides that this arrangement may not be working out for him after all. The others convince him to stay, at least for the time being. Each member has their own opinions about the wizard, and vice versa. But right now, getting out of this awful place is everyone's first priority.
Syrila, Emilie, Kal, Isaac, Namfoodle, and Vic walk in that order through the tunnel. Isaac offers the princess his extendable stick for guidance and asks her if she knows where she is going. She says no, and then nearly falls into a pit. As she backpedals, each cheek of her butt caresses the face cheeks of Kal and Emilie and it’s awful for everyone involved. Isaac determines that the pit is only ten feet deep, and that there is no platform on the other end. The party decides to rappel down the wall on their rope. The wall gets slimy as they descend. Okay ew. Kal holds the rope for the others, and then tumbles down gracefully with no fall damage because he’s really cool.
Namfoodle hears chirping. Lots of it. Diagnosis: bats. The party’s loud movements disturb the fluttering critters, and they swarm overhead and disappear, leaving the party in silence. Four senses left.
Emilie chooses to take the party down a side route they discover, which twists and turns before becoming a main path in its own right. Emilie deduces that between the magical darkness and the twists and turns and forks in the road, this undercroft is either filled with traps to deal with pursuers… or else it’s the worst escape route ever created anywhere ever.
Isaac casts daylight on a coin, and the party emerges in a large room filled with bones. Nam finds an edible luminescent fungus on the wall and pockets it. Nothing else interests the party. They return to the original path and continue along it. Again, the path branches off; this time in the other direction. The party once again chooses to take this detour. The darkness mercifully lets go into a large cavern with nothing in it but stalagmites and probably more bats. But there is also a hallway that leads out to the right. As the party leaves with Vic in the rear, something happens that draws a rare comment from the cleric: “Um, guys? There are… tentacles?”
Kal turns to find that Vic is being lifted up into the air by a huge brain with tons of tentacles sprouting from its caudal surface. Thanks, gods. Emilie invites Princess Syrila to join the party in saving their friend. The princess responds by notching an arrow in her bow. Kal wrestles Vic out of the monster’s clutches, and two more brain creatures descend from above. Emilie squeezes backwards from the front of the queue to strike at the first predator. Namfoodle deals damage as well! Isaac determines that these sentient creatures are called grell, and they have no need for learning the languages of those they consider lesser beings (ie: food).
Isaac really messes up the first grell with a scorching ray, which is great because calamari is delicious, and also this is a super ironic twist on their fucked up culture. It’s impossible to know what the grell's remaining comrades think of this turn of events, but they should be scared.
Well, it doesn’t matter, because within a round, they've died too. And so has Namfoodle, nearly, thanks to Emilie’s critical fail coupled with her strongest maneuver. To say she feels bad is like if you were catering a wedding and you were like “oh no, it’s fine, I’ll get the cake,” and your client is like “No I want to choose it,” and you’re all “Honey I’ve been doing this for decades. I know how to do a wedding cake,” and then you show up with a cupcake. Like an angel food cupcake with overly sweet white frosting that’s so cheaply made that the most prominent taste is preservative. And then some shitty kid knocks the platter over by mistake and the cupcake smears across the floor and then a rat eats the wedding cupcake. Because there are rats too because you’re really just an awful caterer. Decades of experience. Really? You should be ashamed. And then you slice the groom open with your longsword on a critical fail.
The dungeon branches off into many more different paths, with no indication as to which one will lead the party to greater profit. Princess Syrila continues to be very useful as the party’s cliff detector, but if she keeps up her current mode of operation, she's not going to be capable of many more cliff detections. After picking herself off of Namfoodle, Kal, and Vic, the party continues on. In the rear, Isaac and Emilie discuss how Kal's jovial reaction to Namfoodle's serious injuries is just the latest installment in an ongoing series of inappropriately hostile gestures designed to get the gnome's goat. They note that this dynamic between the two threatens to cause substantial problems for the continuation of this alliance.
Namfoodle remains reticent at the front of the queue. More than just the physical wounds from Emilie’s horrible mistake, it does seem that Nam is upset about Kal’s enthusiasm for the debacle. The princess offers one of her arrows to the gnome, as an awkward apology for falling on him during her most recent cliff detection.
The party reaches a very large chamber within the cave. A stagnant, corrosive pool of some kind blocks the way. Three decaying logs form a stepping-stone bridge across. Emilie rashly leaps to the first of these logs, and fortunately her overconfidence is balanced out by very high rolls. Namfoodle demands that Emilie come back to the shore, but she insists that nothing worth seeing in this cave is going to be unguarded by trials such as this. A compromise is reached. Namuffin brings Emilie the end of Namfoodle’s rope, and Kal pulls the crusader back to shore. Kal then leaps across the logs, orienteering them to form a straight bridge from one shore to the other. He then retrieves a longer log from the far shore, which serves as a complete bridge for the others. The plan goes well until the very end, when Kal’s foot falls into the pond. 12 points of damage scream out that Emilie’s jumping idea was awful and she’s lucky to still be in this world. The remainder of the party crosses without complication, including Syrila.
But then the very next passage, once again filled with magical darkness, is also filled with caltrops and now some of Namfoodle’s foot blood (because he wasn’t having a bad enough day). Soon afterwards, Emilie snaps a tripwire and a tiny bell rings far away. Nothing else seems to happen, but Emilie begs the others to evacuate the tunnel before whatever has been triggered kills them. Isaac and Namfoodle, however, are having an argument about whether or not this hell mouth is worth not having to bypass the centaur guards. Annoyed at Namfoodle's complaints, Isaac snaps. "If you want to go, then go!" While Emilie takes shelter in the poison lake chamber, Namfoodle leaves the others, fuming, with the intent of backtracking to the prison and sneaking, alone, by the guards in disguise. Most of the way across the logs, Namfoodle slips and falls into the water. He pulls himself out and falls unconscious. Emilie calls for Vic to help him, while Isaac orders Kal to return the plank-bridge to position.
The party fails to realize that Namfoodle is not just choosing a different route. In light of recent events and the party’s overall attitude toward him, Namfoodle is seriously questioning whether or not he has any reason to continue with these “companions.”
Isaac storms over to heal the gnome, and they instantly (no, I’m sorry, I’m afraid that you as the reader took that to mean “within a minute or two.” What I said was, instantly) resume their argument. Isaac's side: Namfoodle's complaining is unprofessional, and if he has issues with how the party is treating him, he should communicate that instead of storming off inside a dangerous dungeon. Namfoodle's side: Everyone hates him, and is treating him like crap. Why is he down here risking his life with these people?
“Isaac you sanctimonious, condescending twat!” [Michael's actual insult was better than this]
“You're right, I am being condescending, because you nearly died! First rule of adventuring: Don't die! The goal of adventuring is to not die!”
“Well that certainly doesn't seem to have stopped Emilie!...”
Emilie doesn’t fully know how to respond to this, so she defaults to anger. She threatens to storm off in the direction of the scary bell that didn’t seem to do anything, but Isaac informs the teen that she will be just as troublesome as Namfoodle if she does that alone. Namfoodle agrees to come along with the party so long as Kal gives a formal apology for his hostility. Kal evades.
“You think I don’t notice all the things you mutter under your breath?” Namfoodle cries in disbelief. “You’re about as subtle as your beard!”
Princess Syrila picks Namfoodle up and threatens to throw him into the pond if the party doesn’t shut up. More yelling ensues. Time and place, guys. Finally, Kal’s stops with the "Let him do as he will, he's an adult, isn't he?" and throws out a cursory apology which Nam only accepts because holy crap that toxic pond looks like not fun and wow can the scary centaur princess put me down although this does give me a nice view of her rack.
(Side note: the session stenographer has been informed that Namfoodle is gay. So that’s not what he was thinking probably.)
THE PARTY EXPLORES THE SCARY BELL TINKLE PASSAGE! The magical darkness relents in time, and a burning torch lights the scene. Odd. The passage opens up into another wider area. A humongous creature lies sleeping in the middle of the room.
Isaac doesn’t recognize it. “I wish Tahlarien was here. She has good nature skills.”
Emilie scowls. “She also has good desertion skills.”
Upon closer examination, Isaac realizes he actually has tangled with this kind of beast before. He says it is called an Umber Hulk, and it is a particularly nasty type of creature. Namuffin sneaks around it, and finds wooden constructs and a humanoid figure hunched over a cauldron. The bell ringing probably alerted her of the party’s presence. They decide that her spooky inaction is a good cue to backtrack and find another passage to go through.
To be continued…
- It is solely due to the DM's merciful handling of Emilie's critical fail during the grell fight that Namfoodle is still alive. Thank you, DM.
- Vic's player had to leave a tad early, but everything he missed should be recorded sufficiently here!