|Session 17: Hosted by a Hermitic Hag|
|Real World Date||November 22th, 2014|
|Game Date||May 13 - 14, Year 0|
|Location||Secret dungeon under Syrila's castle|
|Enemies||Lizzie's tricks and traps!|
|NPCs||Princess Syrila, Lizzie|
Session 16: Subterranean Semi-Secession
Session 17a: The Complainers Compromise
The Party concocts an incredible plan and then aborts it at step one but they learn the true value of teamwork.
The Party fully explores the dungeon underneath Princess Syrila's castle. At last, they confront the Umber Hulk, only to find that they've been strategizing and saving resources for an impossible battle. The hulk is just an illusion. Beyond it, the party meets a volatile old lady who gives them soup in exchange for token gifts. She leads the party outside, and from there they are able to make tracks toward their next destination.
The Party continues to explore the dungeon, having decided to avoid the umber hulk and witch for now. Emilie gets a face-ful of spider web in magical darkness. Namfoodle tries to crawl under them, but gets a goatee-ful of spiderweb. Emilie begins to cut through the webs, which works well enough. However, soon spiders of all sizes are falling on the party and biting them. It’s really disgusting. The party retreats hastily, but not before Nam is notched down to 1 HP. The heroes reach the chamber of the acid lake and are able to see again. They proceed to attack the spiders still clinging to them, tearing them off and smashing them into the earth. Vic conjures water to wash away his spider swarm, and he spends the rest of the encounter offering support for the others. Kal also escapes his spiders quickly and lends a helping hand. In a few rounds, the spiders have been defeated and the adventurers have not. Also Princess Syrila is there. She didn’t get spidered, and she also couldn’t really help with a bow and arrow. But her encouraging presence was nice.
Isaac sets the spider webs (and in turn, the spiders) on FIRE! It seems to work pretty well. There is lots of tiny screaming. Emilie is elected to take the lead once more, and it seems the gross badies are gone. The party eventually enters another large cavern, once again empty of magical darkness. There is also another lake, but this one doesn’t seem like it will kill anyone. Isaac finds that the murky water fills a surprisingly deep crevice in the stone. There is something in the lake, but it is not clear what. Emilie swims over and examines it. It seems to be a naked ogre corpse and its club, with no other possessions. Emilie unhappily climbs back into her armor, and the stench of her swim in the lake nauseates Isaac and Kal, which gives the party an idea for tactical warfare.
The exit to this room is marked with a rune. Namfoodle is able to defuse it, but there’s no telling if more runes like it are beyond it in the magical darkness. Emilie deduces that if there were runes in the darkness, there would be no need for runes outside of the magical darkness. With this logic guarding her, she confidently walks into the hall with no consequences. Namfoodle follows, and triggers a hidden rune. Apparently only live things can trigger it. Nam calls for Emilie to come back. Meanwhile, the ogre corpse comes to life and starts lumbering toward the party. To Emilie’s annoyance, the rest of the party unanimously “nope”s and escapes deeper into the cave, wanting to save resources for the possibility of a battle with the umber hulk. Emilie leads the party through the upwards-sloping corridor and ends up almost falling off a cliff. (Princess Syrila is not pulling her weight as cliff detector!) The path is interrupted by the underlying, perpendicular spider corridor the party went through just before, before continuing on this higher track further into darkness. Kal and Namfoodle make it across the gap but everyone else falls. With some quick use of rope, everyone is able to continue. There is no sign of the ogre. Perhaps it can’t fit into the corridor. Many loops are closed in the cave tunnels, and the players’ map becomes less enigmatic. Yay!
The party goes to sleep in the first small cavern they discovered shortly after entering the dungeon. Emilie keeps watch for cavern dangers and centaur pursuers, but none show themselves.
The next day (?) Emilie finds a hidden cache in the wall, filled with a piece of parchment and a locket. The locket looks very valuable, but its contents are distressed beyond recognition. The parchment has writing on it in charcoal. Isaac detects no magic on it. The script is written in Sylvan and reads: “For my love. I hid it well. I hope you find it.” There is a scrawled signature at the bottom. Emilie decides to take it. She concludes that the locket must have been here for a long time – perhaps longer than the intended audience has managed to survive. At the very least, it may serve as a clue in the future. It is doing no one any good in this cave. Isaac discovers a sort of tracking magic on the locket. The wearer of this piece and its mate will know when the other is near. It also gives +1 to AC.
With the dungeon fully explored, the party chooses to confront the umber hulk. They formulate an ingenious plan to lure it from its chamber to the acid lake and push it in. Emilie will use her stance to draw aggro and have it chase her toward the lake. Then she will hide, and Namfoodle will disguise himself as Emilie to disorient the umber hulk. Finally, Vic will enhance Kal's strength so that the dwarf can push the hulk into Isaac's grease trap, and finally the lake!
But in phase one of the plan, Emilie realizes that the umber hulk won't leave its post and can't actually hurt anyone, and Namfoodle confirms that it's just a really powerful illusion. HOORAY FOR NO DANGER! The party continues.
The party attempts to chat amiably with the witch from a distance, but she is not responsive. They resort to entering the cave and outright approaching her. She speaks exclusively in the third person and chastises the party for not cleaning their shoes before coming inside and intruding her home. She expectantly asks if the party has brought her gifts. Namfoodle doesn't really have anything to offer, so he gives her his presence. She is displeased with this gift, and one of the constructs that guards the door starts toward him. He forks over the edible fungus from before and she is satisfied, if irked. Kal is forced to forgo a gemstone, because he doesn't have any less valuable trinkets. The witch agrees to host the heroes and invites them for stew. Namfoodle detects poison. She notices. She eats some and says “I would not poison my guests. You gave me gifts.” She serves up six bowls of soup. The sixth is not for Emilie – it’s for her. She must know.
The witch whistles, and a zombie comes out from behind a curtain. It shambles toward the group. It has stone and wood implants and a cavity where the intestines used to be. She calls it “Harold” affectionately – perhaps her late husband? And she feeds it. The soup splashes out on the ground. Why didn’t she serve Emilie, then? She must be in denial of Harold’s death. She grunts in frustration and mops up the soup.
“Where are my manners?” Isaac says suddenly. “I’m Isaac Coale.”
She acknowledges him kindly and remarks that he is not one of “them” – the centaurs and their people. However, she has allowed Princess Syrila to feast with the others.
“I’m… Emilie Barrowman,” Emilie says. “I’m dead.”
The witch nods passively, as if she said she were an architect.
“I’m Namfoodle and I’m having the worst day of my life."
She says that we can address her as Lizzie. She was once an Elizabeth. She was imprisoned long ago by the centaurs, before Princess Syrila’s reign. She also has a burrowing reptile pet named Fuzzy: “and now you’ve met my family!”
The party learns that all of the monsters in the cave are her pets. The umber hulk is Sally. The ogre is George.
“Those brain creatures weren’t your pets, were –” Namfoodle starts.
Emilie interrupts. “Namfoodle, I think we need to be heading out soon, don’t we?”
Lizzie collects the plates and thanks the party for coming. She asks them to return someday, saying she loves her visitors. Through the other entrance to the small room, the party emerges into daylight. They’ve conquered the dungeon!
The party finds themselves in a civilized area, but not a populous one. Princess Syrila says she recognizes the landmarks and that there should be a town to the north; one that Stone has not turned against her.
The party looks forward to taking refuge!
- Lizzie is the witch that the party met in this session. Lizzy, on the other hand, is the lizardfolk that Isaac used to travel with, who confronted the party in Session 10.
- Moving gifs play in google spreadsheets! How cool is that!?