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Howdy y'all. I don't know if anybody here has ever run AEG's World's Largest Dungeon from beginning to end, but that's what I intend to do with a group of, at least, five players using the Pathfinder rules. For those of you not familiar with the product, AEG put out WLD back during the days of D&D 3.0. The book is over 800 pages long, includes 16 full-color maps and contains some variation of every SRD monster from the Monster Manual. I found a copy at a half-price book store, and I'm ready to unleash it on my players. Here's the basic premise of my version of WLD:
The evil Lord Antagonis the Generic has seized control of the land. Over the course of six years, he has consolidated his power and grown ever more paranoid, spiteful and cruel. Antagonis' minions discovered the World's Largest Dungeon, and the dictator decided it would be the perfect place to throw his enemies. Afterall, none of the soldiers he's sent into the black gaping maw of the dungeon ever returned. Our party of adventurers is made up of people Antagonis has deemed a threat to his reign. Thrust into the dungeon with no equipment, the group must quickly come together as a team to survive their imprisonment.
Our cast of characters:
Lord Antagonis the Generic - The ultimate, all-purpose, BBEG complete with Dick Dastardly-style moustache. He started this whole mess.
Ranoth - A human cleric of Pharasma. From a family with a long tradition of hunting the undead, Ranoth was imprisoned in the dungeon for attempting to cure the village of Falcon's Hollow of a plague. Though Ranoth failed to save the village, Antagonis viewed his actions as indicative of the sort of person who might someday challenge his rule and tossed him into the dungeon.
Marcus - A displaced elven fighter raised by a human merchant, Marcus lost his foster father to the plague that struck Falcon's Hollow. His association with Ranoth's quest to cure the plague earned him the ire of Antagonis.
Mina - A human monk and former servant of Antagonis. When Mina's monastery had expended it's usefulness to the dictator, he ordered his warriors to burn the school to the ground and kill all of the remaining monks. Mina escaped the carnage, but was eventually captured and sentenced to the dungeon.
Poker - A gnome rogue and murderer with a penchant for collecting trophies from his victims. Poker was arrested and sent to the dungeon for his crimes.
Lockwalt - An elven evoker whose miscasting of a Stinking Cloud scroll ruined Antagonis' view of the sunset. That was all the reason the petty lord needed to raze the wizard's academy to the ground and have Lockwalt thrown into the dungeon while the academy headmaster lost his head.
Foxy Loxy - Ranoth's pet firefoot fennec, and the party mascot. Foxy snuck into the dungeon after Antagonis' soldiers left the group to their fate.
I'll post a record of the party's trials and tribulations as the weeks progress.
Be here next time to hear how our heroes were nearly wiped out within the first three minutes of their adventure!
I've had several opportunities to purchase World's Largest City at a reduced price. I was just never interested enough in city-based adventures to buy it.
I don't know how long I'll be able to keep WLD going, but the plan right now is to chronicle the adventure for as long as I have players to run through it. That said, here's how our first session went:
Our hapless heroes were unceremoniously dumped into a dark portal at the entrance to the dungeon. An opaque barrier of murky blackness halted any attempt to exit the way they had come so the group had no choice but to explore the room and discover the source of a muffled cough at the far end of the chamber.
Three orcs, weary and wounded from a previous battle, rested atop a pile of rations and waterskins. Ranoth, the cleric, approached the orcs and attempted, at first, to aid them. The orcs balked at the idea of allowing a human priest to help them and grunted their disapproval. At this, Ranoth decided to change tactics and demanded the orcs give up their possessions (keep in mind, the party was devoid of any equipment at the time.) This, of course, lead to a fierce (if brief) battle that left Ranoth, Lockwalt, Poker and Marcus badly wounded or close to death. Only the educated hands and feet of Mina the monk saved the party from what could have been an early TPK. Collecting the orc equipment and food, the party settled in for four days while Ranoth recovered from a near-death experience. With orcish battleaxes and daggers in hand, the group proceeded into the deeper dungeon.
Poker, nominated the party's scout, led the way through the first few rooms. In his pocket, the gnome now carried the finger of one of the slain orcs and he occasionally consulted the finger for advice on which direction to go next. "Finger," as the orc finger came to be known, promptly led Poker into an ambush by a fiendish darkmantle that nearly throttled the gnome to death. The counsel of the dismembered digit continued to bring pain and suffering to the party in the form of a swarm of fiendish rats and an attack by bloodsucking hell-spawned stirges. Along the way, the party did manage to find a few loose trinkets left behind by the previous inhabitants of the dungeon and Poker managed to fashion a crude, small club from the leg of a bedframe. The gnome also found a rat-chewed jerkin of leather armor clinging to the ribcage of a dead kobold and a ceramic sculpture of a toad-lizard hybrid he immediately threw against a wall. With only two days worth of rations left, the adventurers pressed on to a series of strange columned rooms.
The first of the odd rooms was so quiet no sound could be heard within its walls. Lockwalt, the wizard, determined the source of the silence was coming from the four inscribed columns that stood at the corners of the room. Moving on to the next room, the party found similar columns but could not determine their magical effect. At a loss, they proceeded to the third columned room where the sound of rushing water echoed through the chamber.
A seemingly neverending flow of bubbling water issued from each of the four columns in this room and Marcus, the fighter, stepped in to investigate. Due to the noise of the geysers and the elf's astonishment at the sight of the magical columns, he was caught completely unaware when an ogre charged from the shadows and nailed him to the floor with a brutal blow from its greatclub.
Battle was joined, and the ogre smote every opponent who came within reach of his powerful arms. Ranoth could only expend positive energy from the relative safety of a doorway to keep his companions alive after, one-by-one, they fell to the ogre's fury. Lockwalt made the early mistake of closing with the ogre and had his head nearly caved in by a tremendous blow. Mina managed to get in a couple of punches before the haft of the ogre's club sent her spiraling to the ground. Not even Poker's gnomish training against giants would save him from an attack that sent the rogue crashing to the floor and even Foxy Loxy was put down by a strike that nearly ground the beast to pulp. At last, only Ranoth stood before the ogre as Marcus, Poker and Lockwalt struggled to stay conscious at the brute's feet.
Channeling the bleeding touch of his goddess into his hands, Ranoth charged the ogre who took the opportunity to smash the cleric as he came within range. Refusing to fall, Ranoth stumbled forward laying his blessed hands upon the ogre. The thing moaned painfully and dropped his guard just long enough for Marcus to clumsily hurl one of the orcish axes into its leg. The ogre had had enough. Though there was no doubt he could have taken the priest with him had he made a final swing, the ogre relented and asked for parley in broken common.
With Mina once again conscious, the party was able to communicate with the dull-witted ogre. The monk had learned the tongue of giants while studying at her monastery and she was able to discern that the ogre was once part of a large force of evil humanoids who were led to the dungeon by a strange rat-man and abandoned. Alliances broke down and the humanoids began to war on one another until they were attacked by fiendish rats, stirges and darkmantles. Now, the humanoids were separated and each clan waited for its end to come in the gnashing teeth, needled wings and suckered tentacles of the horrible, hell-spawned creatures. The ogre refused to accompany the party but promised he would leave them be in the future. With that, the newest inmates of the dungeon filled their waterskins and settled in for the night.
For those who don't have either;
While the books (WL Dungeon and City) are written with an eye towards them actually being one big place each- the books are Also written to be /very/ easily subdivided into much smaller (i.e. easier to manage) places.
The dungeon for instance is divided into multiple distinct areas. The city is as well.
Even if you, like most people, have no desire to use the whole thing in one go, as a general campaign resource it can be -awesome.
(need a quick inn format? or some NPC's? or a quick dungeon map?).
The books are pricy'ish, but the material contained is really, really invaluable for that, imo.
< / threadjack >
Now you're out too? Security in that dungeon is lax! Jeez! You two had better make sure you're back inside before the next game session or Antagonis is gonna be steamed.
And, I haven't underestimated you. You're doing exactly what you're supposed to do (making yourself a target and getting the crap beat out of you) as we're about to find out in...
DAY 6 - Rats and Bones
The newest prisoners of the dungeon awoke to find the ogre had quietly departed the fountain room while they slept. "Why couldn't he've snuck off with the gnome," Marcus thought to himself. Just then, as Ranoth was in the middle of his daily prayers and Mina and Lockwalt filled their waterskins at the fountain, the shrill cry of Poker alerted everyone that something was amiss...or rather, missing. Finger, the orcish digit the gnome had carried since their first day in the dungeon, was gone. The party had literally lost a member.
The only clue left by the culprit was a small pile of rat droppings near where the gnome had slept. It was obvious to Lockwalt and Ranoth that some fiendish rat had crept into the room and snatched the finger for an easy meal, but neither of them said anything because they didn't care. Pressing on into the dungeon, the group found a room occupied by a large column and the remains of a terrible battle.
The bodies of several orcs and darkmantles littered the floor of the room. One of the orcs' heads was engulfed by a limp darkmantle, a dagger thrust into its eye where the panicked orc had made a desperate final attack. The column in the center of the room was covered in defaced images too damaged to comprehend, but it was quickly forgotten as a group of fiendish dire rats sprung from the corpse pile and hissed in anger as Marcus entered the room. The rats watched from their cover amidst the bodies as the other members of the party gathered around the door. They only wanted to feast on the flesh of the fallen creatures in the room, but made it known they would attack if bothered. That's when Marcus decided to throw a dagger at one of them.
The rats were surrounding Marcus within seconds, leaping and biting as they came. Mina and Poker managed to get into the room before the way was cut off as Lockwalt attempted to daze the lead rat with a Flare cantrip and Ranoth called on the Blessing of Pharasma to lend aid to his companions. Moments later most of the rats were dead, but the party had taken many wounds and worried at the sight of the foaming jaws of the fiendish pests. Still, there was nothing to do for it now. As Mina and Ranoth discovered treasure (including a magical feather) among the orc bodies, Marcus and Lockwalt felt along the walls for concealed doors and Poker took a new trophy to replace his lost finger. Rat tail in hand the gnome thought, "Now if I can just get this to Bahamut, he'll make me a ninja."
The adventurers moved on into a new tunnel following the lead of Marcus who was only trying to get away from Poker and his new friend. Eventually, they found their way to an ill-smelling room filled with the bones and rotting flesh of multiple humanoids. Unknown to the party, they had just found their way into "The Coffin," a room used by the ogre's former companions as a garbage dump for the bodies of creatures they had eaten. Soon after discovering there was nothing of value in The Coffin, the party split up with Mina and Poker exploring a tunnel on their own while Ranoth, Marcus and Lockwalt stayed behind to search a seemingly empty room.
It was just when the monk and rogue had discovered the entrance to a long, wide hallway that the DM got a call on his cellphone and had to rush to the office to write a press release about some guy who went missing after overturning his boat. The hallway would have to wait.
|Lord Antagonis the Generic|
You two had better make sure you're back inside before the next game session or Antagonis is gonna be steamed.
That's Lord Antagonis to you, you prattling, dung-hoofed mule! Now, what's this rubbish I hear about two of the prisoners escaping my dungeon? Inconceivable! The fact that they're here wasting their time talking to you only means that you're in the dungeon with them whereas I am safe and warm in my castle relaying this message to you via my crystal ball...which I stole from an old gypsy woman before having my soldiers enslave her people and set fire to her caravan. So there. Take that you stupid unicorn.
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The fact that they're here wasting their time talking to you only means that you're in the dungeon with them
I guess that would explain why there's a pile of strangled orcs where I thought I would find my favorite shade tree. My horn must be malfunctioning. And you didn't have to be so mean about it...jerk.
DAYS 6-8 - BOYIKT, THE LOST ARMORY AND THE CURSED THRONE
Ranoth, Lockwalt and Marcus proceeded to explore further into the dungeon as Poker and Mina ran off to investigate another tunnel on their own. Though there was some concern for the fate of the monk, Ranoth and Lockwalt were unsure of how to feel about the murderous gnome that traveled with them. Marcus, however, was quite sure of how he felt and openly shared his contempt for Poker hoping the next time they encountered the gnome the party would be looting his rat-eaten corpse.
The trio's first stop would take them to a grand hall littered with the bodies of orcs and kobolds and rats, darkmantles, stirges and troglodytes. The hallway spanned 260ft. and nearly every foot of it was slick with ichor and blood. A titanic battle must have taken place here, and there was no clear indication of a winner. The group left the carnage behind them and proceeded to a storage room where their hope of finding food was crushed with the discovery that dangerous black mold had completely destroyed the food stores and the few barrels they found contained nothing but vinegar.
It was here that they also discovered a scorching ray trap that burned Marcus and Lockwalt as they made their way into another storeroom where no food would be found. The only loot they would take from this room was a rusty miners pick and a fire-scorched stick for drawing a map on Ranoth's grimy shirt. As they left, they encountered their missing monk.
Mina and Poker were separated during their exploration and the monk thought it best to see if the gnome had returned to the main group. He hadn't and nobody seemed to mind (though Marcus grinned as he imagined he could hear the death cries of the gnome choked off by a fiendish rat crawling down the murderer's throat.) Without the gnome, the party pushed on discovering a series of secret doors and a gallery of skeletons and the skins of fantastic beasts pinned to a wall with iron spikes. Even more disturbing was the strange blood-stained throne they discovered in an empty room.
The throne sat at the end of a large, quiet room. Carved from a solid piece of stone with two red gems set into its back, the throne was stained with dried blood and iron rings and bits of chain were fastened to its arms and legs. Despite the morbidity of the scene, Marcus sat on the cold stone seat of the throne while Mina began to pry the gems loose with a dagger. The monk and the fighter both suddenly felt the presence of something like a trapped and terrified animal. Mina's mental discipline helped her to fight off the presence, but Marcus' will was not as strong.
For an instant, Marcus saw a vision of a humanoid creature being secured to the chair and tortured slowly to death. Beads of sweat dripped from the palms and forehead of the elf despite the cold in the room, but the presence had left and there was no other indication he had been harmed or affected in any other way. Days later he would feel the influence of whatever spirit had assaulted him in that room but, for now, he seemed fine except for a growing chill in his bones; the same chill Lockwalt now felt as his muscles stiffened and his arms shook. The wizard (along with most of the party) had been bitten by the fiendish rats in an earlier encounter and the first stage of Devil Chills had set in. Without healing supplies, he would have to tough it out and wait for the sickness to pass.
A series of tunnels later and the party came to an area where dust and debris littered the halls. An open doorway ahead of them led into a rubble-strewn room, and it was decided they would search the room for salvageable goods. What they found instead took them completely by surprise.
Kobolds! Four of them, armed with slings and spears and joined by a catlike beast about the size of a pony. Three bullets pelted Ranoth as he entered the room, and he retreated back the way he came. Seeing an opportunity to get some answers about their prison, Marcus entered the room, dropped his weapons and called out for the kobolds to parley. They accepted and, moments later, a robed kobold with a lizard riding his shoulder crept up over the rubble.
Boyikt, as he claimed to be called, was a wizard and now the leader of the few remaining kobolds in the dungeon. He proceeded to tell the party about how alliances with the orcs and troglodytes had broken down after the ratman, Longtail, had abandoned them. For a time, the humanoids got on well together looting the tunnels and eating any humanoids or creatures that entered the dungeon. The fate of so many of Antagonis' victims was finally made clear.
There was no way to leave the dungeon to gather food, but the humanoids learned they could capture and eat any creature condemned by the evil monarch. The Coffin (the bone-filled room the party had discovered) became the humanoids' dumping ground. A drop in the amount of Antagonis' prisoners entering the dungeon meant the humanoids would have to find a new source of food: each other. It wasn't long before the alliance was shattered and open warfare broke out. Unfortunately, that also meant none of the races were ready when the fiends burst into the tunnels slaughtering orc, troglodyte and kobold alike. Now, according to Boyikt, the few survivors of Longtail's army hid among the ruined halls unwilling to come to terms and fearful of the diseased, demonic creatures that spread like a cancer throughout the dungeon. Boyikt and his warriors, being weaker and less numerous than the other races, had been forced to take refuge in an area that was besieged by earthquakes. They wanted a way out and the party was their meal ticket.
It was agreed the party would aid the kobolds in defeating the orcs and troglodytes in exchange for knowledge about the dungeon and assistance with the task. Boyikt and his warriors collected their gear and led the party back to the last known orc territory where they were able to point out areas where they suspected traps (not that it did any good since Marcus constantly ignored their advice and threw himself in front of every scorching ray, scything blade and lightning bolt they warned him about.) It was a fireball set off by Lockwalt that nearly killed half of the kobolds that caused Boyikt to declare he and his warriors would now follow the party from 20ft. (at minimum.)
Deep inside orc territory, the party made a discovery nearly as welcome as a buffet table. An armory, apparently never discovered by the orcs, had survived whatever had happened to this dungeon. Suits of armor and racks of weapons lined the walls, but the labels on the items gave a strange accounting of the types of creatures which once called this place home. Gear set aside for derro and duergar, elves, drow, dwarves, humans and even kobolds and orcs had been set aside in the chamber never to be claimed by their intended owners. None of that mattered to Marcus who was thrilled to replace his beaten orcish battle axe and studded leather with a shortbow and masterwork chain shirt, but it was the kobold warrior, Malaki-li the Krenshar Keeper, who really lucked out when the elf threw him a small suit of leather armor that turned out to be enchanted. It wasn't long after the discovery of the armory that the party made another useful find.
Past a room filled with darkmantles wheeling about the ceiling (which the adventurers chose to slip by) and through another secret door, the party found what was once a wizard's laboratory (this is where Lockwalt nearly ended the alliance with the kobolds by blowing half of them halfway to Hades.) Inside the room was a furnace, desk and tables covered in alchemical apparatus and potion vials. A silent human skeleton sat at the desk, a pen still held in his hand. The man had died while drafting an unfinished list of ingredients for a potion he would never quaff. It was the scroll tubes and mystical amulet and cloak the skeleton wore that caught Lockwalt's attention as Boyikt set to work creating healing salves from the remaining alchemical supplies (nobody seemed to notice the irony of a dead man wearing a magical amulet of health.) Though nearly out of food, it was here in the relative safety of the forgotten laboratory where the adventurers decided to rest and recover before their inevitable encounter with the remaining orc forces. Though some of the party may have wondered what sort of place this dungeon had been in the past, one question came back to haunt them every time they set off a trap that probably could have been disabled...What the hell happened to Poker?
hey hey hey hey hey ..............hey
are you forgetting the hard honest god fearing work of the walking first aid kit here sheeesh I swear sometimes thats all they see in me is just someone to patch them up after they make thenselves into a target for any myriad of traps going off on them
I will admit a small part of guidance in direcing some of the mayhem ocuring
AND BESIDES my Idea to talk to the kolbolds I just felt it more persuant to broach initial parlay thru Marcus who spoke thier native tounge
oooooooooooooooooohh when I get outta here antagonus I may just give you such a stern pulpit lashing you may beg for forgivness
3 SCROLLS:9 SPELLS half Illusionist and I an Evoker, AMULET AND A CLOAK. Score big time. Moms home cook could do us some good. The big guy is going to get us all killed. I miss (finger/ tail) and the psychotic killer Poker. He could have done us some good. Marcus you can run but Poker will find you, (us). Ranoth we don't think of you as a walking first aid kit, No, we think of you as Marcus' personal physician. We seem to just benefit more when he is leading us blindly, and with darkness clouding his eyes and blood clots stopping up his brain, who could fault me for one little fire ball trapped on a door? Besides Mina is the savior, again!
|Lord Antagonis the Generic|
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I've got something new for followers of the World's Largest Adventuring Party (all four of you.) Pictures! Well, one picture anyway. From here on out, I'm going to try to put together photo illustrations of some of the more memorable moments in the game using minis, dungeon tiles and whatever else I can find. You'll find links to the pics throughout the journal. Now, back to the story!
DAY 9 – A NEW ALLY
The party awoke the next morning to the sight of a squirming burlap sack being dragged into the room by the kobold’s krenshar companion. Bedecked in his new magical leather armor, Maliki-li, the krenshar keeper, was telling Boyikt about a smelly, crazed gnome he’d captured while patrolling the halls near the laboratory. The gnome had been clutching a thick, rotting rat’s tail when he was captured, but the kobold took it and threw it to the krenshar as a treat. He had considered killing the hated creature on sight, but realized humans and elves often made allies of such nuisances and decided to see if the adventurers recognized the thing. If the adventurers didn’t know the gnome, the kobolds would likely have a full stew pot that night, but if they did recognize the gnome, well, at least they would probably have the pleasure of watching it die at the hands of their orc rivals or one of the many traps this group frequently activated.
Marcus’ heart sank as his sensitive elf ears detected the whiny pitch of the gnome’s voice. Once free of the bag, the gnome used the next twenty minutes to ramble on about how he got lost chasing his own shadow into the darkness of the dungeon. There was no doubt this was Poker, the gnome rogue who had gone missing nearly three days ago. Reunited with the mad gnome and completely out of food, the party collected their belongings and pressed on into the dungeon.
It wasn’t long before the group and their kobold allies encountered a door inscribed with the celestial rune for thunder. Sensing the door may be trapped, Ranoth directed Poker to take a closer look. Afterall, the party finally had their trap expert back and, surely, the gnome could disable any magical wards placed on the door…right? Alas, for all the skill the gnome possessed for detecting dangerous devices and malicious magical mechanisms, he had never bothered to learn how to take them apart but, this time, that was okay. The door was not trapped; only locked with celestial magic. The elf evoker, Lockwalt, approached the door and determined to melt the locks off using his own arcane power. Rays of electricity and cold assaulted the door to no avail, but a thin beam of fire lit the unyielding stone up like a warm ember. Magical flame was the key to opening the door.
An oppressive feeling of dread hung heavy in the air as Ranoth, Lockwalt, Mina and Poker entered the room and found a large brass plate in the floor (inscribed with the same symbol as the door) as Marcus waited outside and the kobolds took bets on which of the adventurers would be the first to set off a trap. Odds were on the gnome and they paid off when Poker suddenly leapt onto the brass plate. A cacophonous roar of thunder filled the room the instant the gnome’s feet made contact with the shining surface of the plate blasting the party to the ground. It was the voice of Boyikt calling from the hallway that broke the following silence. “Is the gnome dead yet?”
The party recovered from the deafening blast of mystical thunder and moved on to an eerie room of small prison cells. Strange noises like the faint cries of dying creatures echoed throughout the room as magical energy crackled along the edges of chains hanging from the walls of the cells. The party left quickly after discovering the pervasive negative energy of the room was draining the life from their bodies. Not far from the cells, the adventurers found another door marked with the celestial rune for water.
Lockwalt blasted the door with a beam of cold energy and it opened with a gust like an arctic wind. The interior of the room was a five-foot deep pool of freezing water covered in a thin sheet of ice. Another brass plate rested at the bottom of the pool, and Mina was sent in to investigate.
After prodding the brass plate with her fists had no effect, the monk planted her feet onto the surface of the metal. In an instant she was encased in a solid block of ice which shattered as quickly as it had appeared sending terrible pain throughout her body. The monk was able to uncover a set of pan pipes frozen to the bottom of the pool before returning to the rest of the party. Though waterlogged and filled with ice, the pipes radiated magic. The purpose of the magical pipes would escape the party for now and the adventurers were forced to move on.
Behind a nondescript door, the party discovered a peculiar but intriguing spectacle. Small shining spheres of swirling color floated throughout the room like balloons caught on a light breeze. Determined to learn more about the globes, Poker moved into the room alone (much to the kobolds’ delight.) As he entered, the globes of energy began to slowly move toward the center of the room. Poker hesitated, but the orbs continued their movement coalescing into a single large ball of energy. A sudden rumble and pulse of magic erupted from the orb. The globe of energy had become a portal to another plane and something was coming through!
Experience the horror!(picture)
Furious and terrible, a fiendish owlbear entered the dungeon through the portal. Poker had the sense to move away from the portal before it could fully emerge as Marcus and Mina charged into the room. The elf’s arrows bounced harmlessly off of the fiendish creature’s hide! The monk was brutally thrown to the ground by the crushing power of the thing’s claws and Lockwalt’s ray of fire had no effect on the beast! Moments later, Mina, Marcus and Lockwalt lay at the creature’s feet barely holding to life as Ranoth did his best to stabilize their wounds and Poker fired bolt after bolt at the monster. Afflicted from a previous fight with fiendish rats, the gnome was overtaken with devil chills and his arms shook under the weight of the crossbow throwing off his aim. Only a sudden burst of multi-colored light from the doorway saved the party from annihilation!
Boyikt’s color spray did nothing to harm the owlbear but it did present the creature with a new target for its aggressions and gave Ranoth another chance to rally his companions. The owlbear charged Boyikt getting trapped in the narrow doorway along the way and the nimble kobold wizard jumped back toward his warriors. As Marcus, Mina and Lockwalt regained consciousness, Boyikt blasted the owlbear with a blinding ray of light further enraging the creature and causing it to burst forth from the doorway. Just as the owlbear was about to crush the wizard beneath it’s claws, Malaki-li and his krenshar mount burst into action. As if on cue, the cat-like beast jumped between Boyikt and the owlbear peeling back the flesh of its face revealing the horrible pink musculature beneath! The owlbear reeled in disgust and loathing and fled away from the beast as quickly as its paws would carry it. The kobolds’ celebration was cut short as Boyikt ordered them into the room where the adventurers recovered knowing the owlbear’s rage would quickly overcome its fear of the krenshar. Just then, a secret door in a far corner of the room opened revealing a disheveled half-elf in studded leather armor and carrying a dagger. Not wishing to stick around waiting for the owlbear’s return (and advising the party to follow suit,) the kobolds fled through the new exit. With the secret door closed behind them, the adventurers became acquainted with their new ally.
The half-elf, Saelin by name, claimed he had been lost in the dungeon for about a month prior to the adventurers’ arrival. He and a group of gypsies had been thrown into the dungeon after their caravan was raided and set on fire by minions of Lord Antagonis. Saelin and the gypsies found drooling, ravenous orcs, troglodytes, kobolds and ogres waiting for them and the half-elf barely managed to escape. His life had become a daily struggle to survive hiding from monsters, looting their remains for weapons and eating the occasional rat or stirge when he could catch one.
Feeling they were too close to the source of the fiendish incursion and too far from the orcs, Boyikt and the kobolds informed the party they would travel no further along their current path. With that, the adventurers turned back to retrace their steps eventually finding their way back into the earthquake-stricken domain of the kobolds.
It was at the entrance to a debris-filled room in the kobolds’ territory where Saelin, seemingly acting out of curiosity, cast a flare cantrip into the eyes of Poker. He would later claim he wanted to see if the gnome’s sense of direction would improve if he was momentarily blinded but, for now, the group had other concerns. Alerted by the flash of light, a sea of gnashing teeth and fur had risen up behind the gnome in the shadows of the room. Mina had just enough time to pull the gnome out of the way before a wall of fiendish rats exploded into the hallway enveloping Saelin, Ranoth, Mina, Poker and Lockwalt. The adventurers fought their way through the clawing, crawling carpet of rats as Boyikt conjured up a ball of flame and rolled it toward the beasts. A moment later, the adventurers and the kobolds had enough rat meat to feed them for three days. Together, they settled into one of the kobolds’ rooms and rested for the remainder of the day.
It was a rough week for The World’s Largest Adventuring Party. Tensions flared as life in the dungeon seems to have driven a few of the adventurers a little stir crazy, the alliance with the kobolds was nearly broken and the group suffered its first major defeat at the hands (or are those tentacles?) of a clutch of fiendish darkmantles. Find out who died in the next exciting chapter of Velcro Zipper Presents AEG’s – The World Largest Dungeon! *cue theme music*
DAYS 10-14 The Day of The Tentacle!
The day began with a light breakfast of fiendish rats roasted over an open flame. The fire-resistant rodents were especially hard to cook and had to be eaten rare, but the group had no choice in the matter. Back in the dungeon corridors, the party split up with Marcus and Lockwalt heading back to the dungeon entrance to check for rooms the party hadn’t explored and Ranoth and the others taking a quick look around the kobold warrens. When a sudden small earthquake shook the dungeon knocking Ranoth and half the kobolds to the ground, it was decided the group should catch up with the elves.
Lockwalt and Marcus had already found a room full of reptilian humanoid corpses and a supply room protected by a burning hands trap when the rest of the group managed to catch up with them. However, the two elves were so paranoid and frightened of being separated from their companions that Marcus actually managed to ambush Mina and shoot her with his crossbow as she came through the door. After a brief scuffle broke out between Poker and Marcus only moments later, Boyikt and his warriors decided to head home to their warrens until the party was ready to get back to the business of hunting orcs. When Marcus offered to go with the kobolds, the creatures said nothing but allowed him to follow (Boyikt figured they could throw the elf to any monsters or orcs who might ambush them on their path home.) With Marcus gone, the rest of the party managed to find several hundred feet of rope and several sets of stonemasonry tools in addition to a powerful healing potion before being pinned between two sets of fiendish dire rats and darkmantles. It was an easy win for the group and they proceeded back to the kobold lair ready to move onto more dangerous game. Little did the adventurers know, Boyikt was hatching a plot against one of their own.
Marcus (no stranger to the kitchen) and Boyikt sat atop a pile of rubble comparing recipes when the kobold wizard brought up a dish he’d once had that was a delicacy among kobold-kind. The wizard pointed out how most of the ingredients for the concoction were available here in the dungeon; a bit of rat meat, vinegar, one or two herbs he could find in the alchemist laboratory…he was just missing one thing: a gnome.
“If only we could gets our claws on a gnome,” said Boyikt. “My warriors would feel so much stronger and braver if only they haves a tummy-full of gnome soup. It really too bad we not have one available for crunching.”
The wizard let the statement hang in the air a moment before continuing.
“Hey! Me knows! You not like stinky Poker-gnome. We not like stinky Poker-gnome. Perhaps we makes deal?”
Marcus, of course, jumped on the chance to rid himself of Poker and quickly devised a plan to “accidentally” kill the gnome the next time the group entered combat. Little did the elf know what was in store for him the next time he raised his crossbow.
After resting another day, the party, along with Marcus and the kobold, Malaki-li, headed to a large chamber where they had once spotted a group of darkmantles. It was possible the orcs were trapped or dead within the chamber so the adventurers had no reason not to check it out. Malaki-li was only sent by Boyikt to report back if the party was defeated or if they needed reinforcements against any orcs (he was also there to make sure Poker died in the encounter but only he and Boyikt knew this.)
The group prepared themselves and headed into the room. Five fiendish darkmantles immediately descended upon them diving from the ceiling and spreading darkness wherever they flew. Marcus moved into the room and aimed his crossbow near a darkmantle that was close to the gnome. Suddenly, the elf felt as if he was being strapped down into a stone chair and tortured by powerful glowing figures. Terrified, he pointed his weapon at the nearest creature and fired! His bolt found a home in the back of Mina, the monk, and Marcus would spend the rest of the battle confused, panicked and sickened. The curse of the bloodstained throne the elf sat on days ago may have saved Poker from the diabolical attack of Marcus, but it wouldn’t save him from the tentacles of one of the fiendish beasts. The gnome fired multiple bolts at the creature, but debris in the room ruined his every attempt to bring the monster low. It was not long before the beast’s strength bested the rogue’s agility and the gnome found himself trapped in the darkmantle’s crushing embrace. Despite their best efforts, the party suffered its first casualty. As he died, the gnome made one final admission.
Marcus never saw the gnome’s demise. His curse had robbed him even of the joy of seeing the rogue die. At the time, he was puking in the hallway outside the darkmantle lair. Malaki-li and his pet krenshar were there too waiting for the battle to end so they could survey the outcome. Just then, visions of the strange glowing creatures returned to Marcus! He raised his crossbow and fired a bolt into the kobold warrior. The krenshar instinctively pulled back the flesh of its muzzle frightening Marcus and causing the elf to flee into the room where his companions were finishing off the last of the evil creatures within. Malaki-li raced back to the rest of the kobolds to tell Boyikt the adventurers had betrayed them.
Tense moments passed as the adventurers waited for the kobolds eventual arrival. Marcus told them of what he had done and they had nowhere to run. The room beyond the one they were in turned out to be home to another seven darkmantles and the group was in no shape to confront them. Marcus and Saelin, the bard, stripped the gnome of his belongings and set his body outside the door as a peace offering. Soon, they could hear the movement of the kobolds in the halls outside. Boyikt and his warriors were not happy, but they did not know how strong the adventurers were after their battle. The kobolds eventually settled for taking Poker’s body and Marcus’ offer to let Malaki-li spear him in exchange for the shot he’d fired into the kobold. After that, Boyikt told Ranoth he and his warriors were leaving to find a new home in the dungeon. After the events of the last two days, the wizard would need some time to decide if he wished to continue his alliance with the adventurers. Meanwhile, the party had a new problem to deal with.
Marcus was cursed. It was obvious to everyone he was a liability in combat and, Lockwalt, more than anyone, felt especially threatened. He and Marcus had spent a lot of time together exploring on their own, and they were the only elves in the group. Only he and Ranoth were very close to the fighter and if Marcus was likely to turn on his allies at any moment, wasn’t he, one of Marcus’ greatest allies, in great danger? The evoker decided he wasn’t going to die in here, no matter the cost. Under the pretense of a sparring match to determine the full effect of Marcus’ curse, Lockwalt waited until the fighter’s guard was down and attempted to stab him with a dagger hoping to take advantage of his weakened condition after the fight with the darkmantles. Marcus avoided the blow, but was unable to attack due to his curse. Seeing the dagger, Ranoth immediately moved to intervene. Lockwalt was given a choice. He could help the party find a way to break Marcus’ curse or he could leave to fend for himself. The evoker protested but eventually gave in and offered to accompany Marcus back to the room where the bloodstained throne sat waiting for its next victim.
Marcus stood before the throne. The room was as cold and silent as he remembered. Lockwalt waited at the door as the fighter once again sat upon the hard stone seat. It was Marcus’ idea to attempt to face his fear and overcome the curse of the throne. As soon as he was seated, visions of torture and feelings of fear and pain overtook him again. Time after time, Marcus fled the chair or attempted to attack Lockwalt before the fugue wore off. Eventually, Lockwalt had to tie Marcus’ feet and hands and push him into the seat. Nothing seemed to calm the elf and, at last, he could take it no more. Hands bleeding, Marcus spent the next eight hours pounding the throne into the floor with a hammer and chisel he had borrowed from one of the stonemasonry sets. As Marcus walked away from the rubble pile, Lockwalt congratulated him on his victory even as he watched the throne’s shattered frame pull itself together over the fighter’s shoulder.
The party took an extra day to rest while Marcus recovered from his labors and then headed back to the darkmantle lair. Prepared for battle, they fought through six of the creatures with little trouble (though Marcus still spent most of the battle cowering, fleeing and getting sick.) The seventh creature fled into the next chamber where the party discovered five more darkmantles, bigger than any they had previously encountered. One of the big darkmantles had the smaller creature in its tentacles and was squeezing the life out of it. The adventurers closed the door to the room and left to rest before attempting to destroy the larger monsters only to find the doors barred open by rubble when they returned. The darkmantles were getting smarter, and the party needed a new plan.
Though not a cure, Saelin suggested he might be able to hypnotize Marcus and convince him the monsters were his allies. The bard reasoned, under the effects of the curse, the fighter might attack the darkmantles if he believed they were friends. With nothing to lose but their lives, the party prepared for battle and pushed into the room. Marcus went in first carrying only his armor, a shield and a few daggers. The darkmantles attacked immediately showing speed and skill previously unseen in such beasts. It wasn’t long before the party was in serious trouble as the creatures flanked, grappled and singled out their warriors. Moments later, most of the group was on the ground barely hanging onto life. Lockwalt, who had tried to keep his distance, quickly found himself ganged up on by three of the creatures. The evoker fell back into the previous room and fought desperately blasting the creatures with rays of sonic energy, but it wasn’t enough. Writhing tentacles lashed and wrapped about the elf crushing his throat and breaking his ribs. He died alone moments later, carried into the darkness to be eaten by horrible monsters, too far from the healing energy of Ranoth’s goddess.
The adventurers failed to destroy all of the darkmantles. One of the creatures remained when the last of their group fell to the ground, and it was only luck that saved them when the wounded creature grabbed the nearest morsel (the party’s lovable mascot Foxy Loxy) and flew off to eat and recover from the battle.
Marcus awoke nearly a day later to find Ranoth, Mina and Saelin unconscious but alive. There was no sign of Lockwalt or Foxy Loxy so he barricaded his allies into a room and staggered off to pass out at the feet of the party’s only allies in the dungeon: the kobolds.
Bonus material: Kobold Gnome Soup Song
We hates gnomes,
We hates 'em a bunch,
Smash their bones 'til they crunch crunch crunch!
Throw 'em in a pot and cook our lunch,
Happy kobolds say,
"Munch! Munch! Munch!"
|Lord Antagonis the Generic|
Don't encourage the mule. I think most of this has been utter rubbish. However, I admit there are a few parts I've liked. Watching the gnome and that elf wizard die was fun (that's what he gets for ruining my view.) And that Marcus fellow is probably going to be the death of everyone if the monk doesn't kill him first.
That gnome soup song is rather catchy too.
I was sad when Lockwalt died. :( He seemed like a cool character, and I liked his name.
I wasn't so sad when Poker died, but that's just because there's been an annoying gnome in another one of my games recently, and perhaps it gave me a subconscious desire to see a random gnome suffer. :)
Is Saelin a replacement character for that same player?
How much of the story comes from the original adventure, and how much are you adding yourself? I've never read this adventure (nor even heard about it until I stumbled upon this thread).
Also, what level are the characters?
All of the characters are level 1-2. They've only just begun their journey through the dungeon, and I'm using a slower level progression so they don't outpace the challenges to come.
I'm using the text of the adventure as a skeleton. For instance, the book says the party can try to negotiate an alliance with the other races in the dungeon but it doesn't say anything about Boyikt making deals to eat any gnomes in the party. I threw that in to see if Marcus' player would take the bait. The stuff about Lord Antagonis throwing the party into the dungeon isn't in the book either. The book doesn't give a reason why the adventurers would ever go into the dungeon, leaving it up the DM, so I used a generic reason for the characters to be there.
The characters' alignments run the gamut from good to evil so I'm running this as a sort of classic ensemble piece where you've got a bunch of people who would normally never work together trapped in a situation where they have to rely on each other to survive. I'm not going to step in to directly prevent in-party conflict because I think it makes sense that there are going to be times the characters hate each other. They're a mature bunch so I'm letting them work out their own problems. Of course, as DM, I am an agent of karma...
Saelin isn't a replacement character. He's played by somebody who later joined the group. The players of Poker and Lockwalt will have new characters the next time we game. Speaking of those two, with the exceptions of Marcus and Saelin, most of the group seemed to like the gnome. Lockwalt only seemed to get along well with Marcus and Ranoth, and I agree it was kind of tragic the way he was so willing to kill a friend in order to save himself and then ended up dying alone with no friends nearby to save him.
When we last left the World's Largest Adventuring Party they'd been beaten, bruised and penetrated by tentacles. Three members of the party were dead and one person was cursed. Things were not looking good for the group, and I'm sure Lord Antagonis was loving every minute of it. Well, things are about to get a whole lot worse...
DAYS 15-21 BETRAYAL!
Saelin, Ranoth and Mina woke to the sound of gently splashing water and the slithering and croaking hiss of reptillian voices. The group was tightly bound by the dirty, old hemp they'd found days ago and three of Boyikt's warriors stood before them pointing spears in their direction. Behind the warriors, Boyikt was conversing with a pair of large troglodytes, occassionally motioning toward the adventurers, as Malaki-li sat atop the krenshar watching the deliberations. Though none of the adventurers could understand what was being said, it was obvious what was about to happen. Boyikt was selling them out.
Marcus the elf had stumbled into the kobold lair a day ago and told the wizard his companions had been defeated by the fiendish darkmantles and lay unconscious in the dungeon. Boyikt had his warriors drag the adventurers back to their new lair and told the elf he would watch over them until they woke as the elf wrote a message to leave for his companions. He was leaving the group. Marcus had decided his curse made him too much of a liability to the party so he was leaving to seek out a means of breaking the curse on his own or die trying. Though he knew he and his warriors could easily overpower the elf and take him captive, Boyikt allowed the fighter to leave unharmed. Afterall, the elf was cursed and probably wouldn't last a week on his own. For now, the wizard was content to scheme and consider a way he might still save what was left of his tribe.
Boyikt stroked his scaly chin and thought about his time among these elves and humans and their sole gnome companion whose meat now settled in his stomach. The adventurers had done little more than squabble amongst each other since the alliance with the kobolds was formed. They were accident-prone and dangerous to be around. For Kurtulmak's sake, they'd set a fiendish owlbear loose in the dungeon! The kobolds were no closer to achieving dominance of the dungeon than they were before meeting this group. It was better to be rid of them. There was no way the orcs would consider a truce with the kobolds, but the troglodytes were fellow scalykind. Surely, a deal could be made. The wizard sent Malaki-li to deliver a message to the trogs. Things were finally looking up for the kobolds.
Two troglodyte warriors arrived to broker the deal. Still suspicious of the kobolds, they stood near the door to the room ready to run back to their lair and inform their leader of any betrayal. It was then that they heard the sounds of footsteps and whispers outside the door behind them. Boyikt had his warriors take a defensive position near the door while the trogs made for the exit on the other side of the room. Had Boyikt sent warriors into the hallway to surround them?
The door flew open and a masked man and a half-orc launched into the room followed by a human warrior wielding an axe! Battle was joined as the kobolds attempted to hold off the interlopers.
Aerolin, Hurk BarSol Ninebark and Walker, Teksassian Ranger, had tracked the pair of troglodytes to a closed door down a narrow passageway. It had been three days since troglodytes had dragged off three other members of their group, and the adventurers believed they were getting closer to the creatures' lair. Hurk kicked open the door and he and the elven wizard, Aerolin, burst into the room only to be confronted by Malaki-li and his krenshar mount. The half-orc fled in terror as the cat-like beast peeled the flesh back on its face, but the wizard stood his ground and was quickly joined by Walker. The troglodytes sought only to escape to the safety of their lair and made a hasty exit through the door on the opposite side of the room while Boyikt conjured up a ball of flame and hurled it toward the elven wizard as the kobold warriors jabbed at Walker with their spears.
Aerolin dropped one of the kobolds with a dagger held by a ghostly hand and managed to cut Mina free from her bonds as the flaming sphere finally caught up with him and dropped him to the floor. Meanwhile, Saelin and Ranoth, still tightly bound, attempted to inspire their rescuers and intimidate their foes. Hurk had calmed down enough to attempt to return to the room through the doors the troglodytes had used to escape. There, he met with the noxious creatures and, though sickened by their foul odor, managed to strike one down while the other fled. Moments later, the battle was cut short as Boyikt and Malaki-li, the only remaining kobolds, escaped atop the krenshar.
Freed from their bonds, Mina, Ranoth and Saelin collected their belongings and thanked the strangers for their timely intervention. It turned out Hurk and Aerolin were also prisoners of Lord Antagonis.
The half-orc had once been a well-known officer in the nation’s army. Though low in rank, it was believed Ninebark was on the fast track to becoming a general before Antagonis seized power. When the lord’s agents couldn’t sway the fighter with offers of wealth and power, he was captured and thrown into the dungeon.
Aerolin had been a student at the same academy as Lockwalt. A classmate hypnotized the elf during one of Lord Antagonis’ visits to the academy and caused him to insult the noble. Antagonis beat the elf severely with a brick and ordered the elf’s head be placed into a cage containing an angry mongoose. The wizard then became one of the dungeon’s first prisoners after the lord’s soldiers discovered its location. Grief-stricken, Aerolin’s classmate, a gnome enchanter named Rufinol Darkene, snuck into the dungeon with the elf’s spellbook, ring and dagger hoping to stage a daring rescue. When the gnome realized there was no escape from the dungeon, he and Aerolin did the best they could to survive until the gnome died while defending Aerolin from a troglodyte attack. The elf escaped the troglodytes and was later discovered by other prisoners including Hurk.
The Teksassian Ranger, Walker, was not a prisoner of Antagonis. It was his love of leather pants that led him into the dungeon. The ranger had been on the trail of a large force of kobolds and troglodytes and was hoping to pick a few off in order to fashion himself a new set of assless chaps when he followed them straight into the dungeon. It turned out these creatures had been part of Longtail’s army of evil humanoids and the ranger was now trapped inside with a couple hundred of his favored enemies; not a bad place to be for a ranger. Naturally, prisoners who escaped the dinner plates of the humanoids, flocked to Walker for his knowledge of survival and avoiding and killing the reptilian creatures. Unfortunately, the trogs had recently carried off half of the last group of prisoners he’d banded together with.
The two groups of adventurers decided to work together to hunt down Boyikt and Malaki-li leaving Walker, Aerolin and Hurk’s companions to their fate. The trail ended near the kobolds’ old lair in the earthquake zone, but damage to the area made it impossible to track them any further. The group searched nearly every inch of the rubble for the kobolds to no avail but did make one peculiar discovery during a brief fight with a pair of darkmantles. During the battle, Ranoth attempted to summon the aid of a celestial animal and, for a moment, it almost appeared the magic would fail. Some invisible force interfered nearly causing Ranoth to lose the spell, but he was able to summon a celestial border collie named Parmesan. The dog, however, did not return to its home plane when the spell’s duration expired and merely wandered around of its own accord. Parmesan seemed content to follow the party at a safe distance and proved a valuable ally in a fight against a swarm of fiendish stirges that attacked the group in an old furnace room.
The party rested in the warmth of the relit furnaces for five days recovering from the attack of the stirges, and used their time to update their map and search for any hidden tunnels or rooms they hadn’t yet discovered. One of the treasures they had won from the dead kobold warriors was three sections of a map drawn on a collection of kobold scales that had to put together like a puzzle. Using that map, they were able to determine where they might find doors and passages into areas they hadn’t yet explored and near the entrance to the furnace room, they discovered a hidden door with a pair of orcs guarding the tunnel on the other side.
The orcs immediately ran into a nearby room and slammed the door. This was actually good news for the party who had hoped they might work out a deal with the orcs now that the kobolds had betrayed them. It was with that intention Ranoth, Saelin and Hurk approached the room and called to the orcs within.
After a few tense moments, the door opened revealing eight large orc warriors and their sergeant, a powerful-looking orc resting on a greataxe. The sergeant greeted the party telling them his name was Klaatu and that he would allow only two of their group in to speak with his chief, Orghar. It was decided Ranoth and Aerolin would be the two to enter and the rest of the party waited on the other side of the door ready to rush in if needed.
Orghar sat on the floor of his chamber staring off into space. The barbarian had seen too many of his warriors die and he knew it was only a matter of time before the fiendish creatures of the dungeon would find the secret entrance to his lair and finish off what was left of his forces. He did not stir when the door to his chamber opened. He did not stir when Klaatu whispered to him that humans and elves had arrived from the dungeon outside. He did not stir when Ranoth greeted him and told him of his party’s grudge against the kobolds. However, when Ranoth asked the old orc warboss about forming an alliance, Orghar stirred. Instantly, memories of his first conversation with Longtail flooded back to him. The rat-man had promised him wealth and power if only he would ally his warriors with the troglodytes and the kobolds. He also remembered how his acceptance of that deal had led him here to wait for death while a hundred of his warriors lay rotting in the passages outside. He allied with the rat-man and the rat-man took his warriors from him. The rat-man took his freedom from him. The rat-man took his power from him. No. There would be no more alliances.
Orghar’s mind broke in that instant. He grabbed his battleaxe and screamed hate and anger at Ranoth before driving its blade into the cleric’s chest. Ranoth tried to reason with the raging barbarian chief while healing himself with his magic. Aerolin attempted to slow Orghar down by greasing the floor beneath the orc’s feet, but only managed to buy Ranoth enough time to draw his falchion. Meanwhile, Klaatu stood quietly watching the fight while the orc warriors began to crowd at the door to the room. What did he care if these strangers killed his chief before his eyes? If these humans and elves thought they could become the masters of the orcs by beating a crazed, old failure like Orghar, they were mistaken. Klaatu would be chief now, and beating Orghar only meant these strangers were strong enough to serve as useful pawns in his scheme to kill the troglodytes and kobolds and take his revenge on Longtail.
In the end, it was Orghar’s rage and insanity that killed him. His madness made him an easy target for Ranoth’s falchion and Aerolin’s magic, and his broken mind ensured none of his warriors would come to his aid. The day ended with the remaining orcs devouring his body, and the party sitting a safe distance away as they waited to see if Klaatu would be the leader Orghar could not be.
|Turin the Mad|
The bastage Antagonis not only disfigures me but then can't even get my name right? The nerve of some people who over compensate for small appendages. And come on leave out how the suicidal Air'elon valiantly attacked 3 Kobold warriors with a burning hands spell and allowed him self to be beat on while dodging krenshar attacks, kobold attacks, and a great big flaming ball of fire all while cutting free the hot female monk. It's not bad enough that i am disfigured for life but now my accomplishments are down played, maybe i should just commit seppuku and end the sad miserable tail that is my life. Good by cruel world, hello delayed blast fire ball.
Apologies to the elf. Lord Antagonis had nothing to do with the incorrect spelling of your name. I simply confused your name with that of a fey Aerosmith cover band composed of four mandolin-playing grigs I once saw perform in The Enchanted Forest. They were really pretty good.
(You might also note that I left out the part where your INT 20 brain told you it would be a great idea to use a burning hands spell on a bunch of fire-resistant fiendish stirges. Then again, I did illustrate it in the photograph.)
Greeting WLD fans!
I'm having a good time running this massive adventure, but it's time to announce that the World's Largest Dungeon campaign will be on hiatus for about six weeks while I am away on an adventure of an entirely different sort.
As a magical beast and bard of no small skill I sometimes find myself called upon to chronicle deeds of derring-do in far off corners of the world. Apparently, there are still some monsters in Africa Solomon Kane didn't kill. There may also be pirates. I will provide an account of my safari when I am able.
Thanks for reading.
|Turin the Mad|
Greeting WLD fans!
I'm having a good time running this massive adventure, but it's time to announce that the World's Largest Dungeon campaign will be on hiatus for about six weeks while I am away on an adventure of an entirely different sort.
As a magical beast and bard of no small skill I sometimes find myself called upon to chronicle deeds of derring-do in far off corners of the world. Apparently, there are still some monsters in Africa Solomon Kane didn't kill. There may also be pirates. I will provide an account of my safari when I am able.
Thanks for reading.
Stay safe in the wilds of the Dark Continent.
|Lord Antagonis the Generic|
Booyah! In your face, Antagonis!
I haven't been eaten. I'm at the Equator! The only thing likely to eat me out here is a sea serpent or a kraken (though I suppose that still might happen.)
I've been in Africa for about two weeks now. I've got some photos and a few stories to share, but I don't have a good enough connection out here to upload my pictures and I don't really have time go into too much detail. I can say that there will be pirates, sort of. There was also at least one wench so that's pretty good. I'll fill you all in later.
|1 person marked this as a favorite.|
Howdy folks. Your favorite unicorn bard is back, and I've got an update from the World's Largest Dungeon. It's been awhile since we heard from our imprisoned heroes so let's just get right into the story!
DAY 22-24 RUNATH THE LOST AND THE COWARD TURAG
Klaatu and the orcs sat feasting upon the remains of their former chieftain, Orghar, while the party sat in a corner of the room nibbling their remaining ratmeat when Walker noticed a squirming sack under a pile of discarded equipment. Cutting the sack open, the ranger discovered a bound and gagged, mostly naked dwarf. Freed from the sack and gathering up his equipment from the pile, the dwarf explained his name was Runath and he had been lost in the dungeon before the orcs captured him.
As a paladin of Iomedae, Runath was quick to stand against Lord Antagonis when the despot’s forces threatened to enslave his clan. His resistance earned him a trip to the dungeon after he was defeated by Antagonis’ minions. The dwarf had been in the dungeon only four days before he was captured by the orcs to be used as an emergency food supply. Now, Klaatu came to the adventurers and decided they could keep the dwarf as a show of good faith while chewing a bit of meat from one of Orghar’s legs. Tomorrow, they would all go to fight the troglodytes.
The party arose from their sleep gathered up their belongings and set off with Klaatu and six of his orc warriors. Saelin along with Parmesan, the celestial dog, had watched over the party while they rested so the bard decided to take the day off to catch up on his sleep while the two remaining orcs were left to guard the room.
The party fell behind allowing the orcs to take the lead through the dungeon when their attention was drawn to a pair of rooms they hadn’t explored. Klaatu tried to explain that the rooms were avoided by the orcs because nobody ever returned from them, but that only made the adventurers even more eager to enter them.
The first room contained a small metal case atop a stone pillar and the bodies of several orcs and kobolds. There was no apparent cause of death and the case did not radiate magic of any sort. Runath, Hurk and Walker cautiously approached the case and searched it for any sign of traps. It was a simple metal box with a latch keeping the lid shut, and there didn’t appear to be any danger in opening it so Runath popped the box open. A burst of deadly yellow mold spores immediately exploded from the interior of the box causing Hurk to choke violently while Walker and Runath quickly covered their mouths before the weighted lid fell closed once again. Determined to get at whatever was inside the box, Ranoth called the three out of the room and moved to open the case while Air’elon stood nearby (but outside the expected radius of the spore cloud.) Forcing a spear into the case, Ranoth discovered the box contained nothing more than a vent that continuously pumped yellow mold into the room so long as its lid remained open. He quickly removed the spear and exited the room along with Air’elon. On their way to the second orc-shunned room, the party discovered a third unexplored chamber.
The room was long and a pedestal topped with a sparkling glass globe rested at its center. A strange, dagger-shaped tusk balanced atop the globe on its point as two darkmantles lay on the floor nearby, apparently dead. Before anyone could enter, however, Mina, spotted a third darkmantle clinging to the ceiling of the room. Axe held high, Runath entered the room just as the two fallen darkmantles began to stir. Battle was joined, but the three darkmantles were no match for the superior numbers and skill of the party. One fell quickly to a combination of blows from Mina and Walker and the remaining darkmantles fled after a suffering damage from Hurk, Runath and Ranoth. During the brief skirmish, Walker managed to get his hands on the tusk dagger setting off a blinding flash of green light that dazzled Hurk and nearly knocked a few of the combatants unconscious.
The last of the unexplored rooms, Klaatu had warned, was filled with smoke and very warm. Hurk decided he would enter the room alone to search through the smoke for anything valuable to the party. All he found were the charred remains of burned orcs before the door swung shut behind him and a fireball erupted from a vent somewhere beyond the smoke. Ranoth quickly ran for the door as Hurk crawled in blistered pain to escape before another blast could finish him off. Wounded and nearly spent from their experience in the three trapped chambers and a subsequent battle with more darkmantles, the party convinced Klaatu to allow them to rest in the fountain room before continuing on to the troglodyte lair.
The adventurers had nearly stumbled into troglodyte territory once before when their path took them close to an area the orcs called “The Maze.” The Maze had been taken over by the trogs shortly after their arrival to the dungeon as their refined sense of smell helped them navigate the twisting tunnels and halls of the aptly named area. The few remaining orcs would stand little chance of wiping out the trogs so long as the reptiles were rooted in their labyrinth and the trogs knew it. Now, the orcs were hoping the trogs wouldn’t be ready for a combined attack by themselves and a party of adventurers.
The group of adventurers and orcs found a dead orc warrior not far into The Maze, his body slumped against a wall near a door. Something seemed to whimper on the other side and it strained to keep the door shut when Air’elon attempted to communicate with it in Draconic. Klaatu ordered two of his orcs to break down the door revealing an emaciated, fearful orc hiding within the room. Klaatu’s warriors laughed and the new chieftain informed the party this was Turag the Coward, an orc who had been banished from the tribe for his lack of courage. Turag begged for his life and offered what little information he knew about The Maze in exchange for mercy. The party accepted, but Klaatu ordered Turag to march at the back of the group with Mina so his warriors’ axes would not be stained with his coward blood when he eventually turned to retreat.
The party next came upon a pair of large rooms filled with worktables and furnaces. These rooms appeared to have been designed for use as smithies for tools and weapons and one of them was now home to six blood-bloated fiendish stirges. The group immediately took advantage of the sluggish condition of the hell-spawned bloodsuckers and smashed them as they attempted to throw up their last meal in order to flee.
It hasn't been an issue yet and neither of the two wizards we've had have had a problem. The party has already found a few scrolls and a laboratory where they can create alchemical and, potentially, magic items. They've also got a chance to recover Boyikt's spellbook if they ever catch up with the kobold wizard.
As I view the goings on of the party I once ran around with from the here after, I see the adventure will be a long, hard and rewarding climb into fame and fortune. I look forward to see them all find the magic and gold they crave. In the short term I agree with Air'elon about more detail of what the party members do and their interactions. And finally welcome back from your safari, Velcro.
|Lord Antagonis the Generic|
Hey, Darkmantle-chow! Nobody is here to read about how this band of maladjusted miscreants spends half their day drooling over the underdeveloped, gender-confused hermaphro-monk. We want to read about their well-deserved suffering and the hilarious ways in which they die. Now, why don't you run along to Mechanus? I hear they've got a lovely, little, golden, pill-munching monodrone in a maze who could use some chasing.
As much as I love references to Pac-Man and Modrons, that was kind of mean of you to say to Lockwalt, Antagonis. It isn't his fault darkmantles find his race particularly snack-worthy. You should really have more respect for the dead. Afterall, you're going to be among them someday.
We had a relatively short session in terms of exploration this week, but the party managed to add one more to their roster and fight a pretty huge and extremely bloody battle with the aid of their orc allies.
DAYS 25-27 ASSAULT ON THE TROGLODYTE LAIR!
The day following the fight with the blood-bloated stirges found the adventurers and their orc allies in the east end of the troglodyte maze. A quick search of the remaining two furnace rooms found a trio of fiendish dire rats and an enchanted short sword beneath a pile of rubble. The ranger, Walker, took up the sword (which he named Brock) and the group resumed their search for the troglodyte camp. It was only moments after a battle with a clutch of eight fiendish stirges when the group gained a new companion.
Ayla had banded together with Hurk, Walker and Air’elon after being sentenced to the dungeon by Lord Antagonis for the seemingly minor offense of trespassing through a grapefruit orchard. The elf was captured during the troglodyte attack that broke up her party and separated from her kidnapped companions to await sacrifice to the troglodyte’s demonic patron. A sudden darkmantle attack drove off her reptilian guards and she managed to escape after picking up a few daggers and a suit of armor from a partially eaten orc corpse. Reunited with her companions, Ayla led the group through a series of tunnels she’d used in her escape but she was unable to vouch for the fate of the rest of their missing friends. However, it wouldn’t take long for the adventurers to discover what had become of them.
Broken bones and the mutilated remains of two or three dozen humanoids littered three blood-slicked corridors ahead of the party. The entire area stank of rotting flesh and troglodyte musk as four of the reptilian creatures crept from the far corners of the tunnels. Hurk rushed to meet the creatures in battle but he was overcome by the stench and slipped in a puddle of gore that splashed up onto his armor and face. As the party rushed in to kill the troglodytes, slipping in the muck and tearing up from the horrid odor, Klaatu ordered his warriors toward a door at the far end of the third corridor shouting, “Find the lizards and kill them all!”
Walker, Mina and Ayla stabbed, hacked and punched at two of the troglodytes while Runath and Hurk kept another pair occupied as Ranoth provided support from the center and Air’elon followed the orcs. Moments later, the orcs discovered the hidden chambers of the troglodytes and forced open the doors. A troglodyte cleric within the reptiles’ main lair chanted a prayer to his dark lord and negative energy flared around his claws as another of the troglodytes fell before the wrath of four of the orcs while defending the tribe’s burial chamber! Amidst the chaos of battle, nobody even noticed the cowardly Turag sneaking away into the darkness.
It wasn’t long before Walker, Ayla, Mina and Ranoth caught up with the orcs and joined the melee. The elven rogue’s dagger found its way into the backs of a pair of the reptiles and Mina’s fists and feet cracked the creatures’ bones while Walker used all the tricks he’d learned tracking reptilian humanoids to inflict terrible wounds upon them! Runath and Hurk, who were still tied up with one of the troglodytes in the blood-swamped hallway, found their work cut short when the lizardish creature lost its balance while laughing at their clumsy attempts to dispatch it and wound up impaled on a broken bone fragment. It was Klaatu who struck the final blow against the troglodyte cleric after a burning ray from Air’elon blackened the creature’s hide. With the troglodytes dead and the orcs collecting their trophies, the party broke up to search the adjoining chambers.
Ayla was scolded by Klaatu when she attempted to pilfer an amber holy symbol from the corpse of the cleric but managed to swipe a scroll the orc tossed aside with contempt. Meanwhile, Walker, Ranoth, Mina and Runath discovered a hidden magazine filled with crossbow bolts, a few spears and some repeating light crossbows while Air’elon waited for the moment the orcs would betray the party. That moment never came and it seemed Klaatu was sincere in his alliance with the adventurers. Unaware of the hidden magazine, the orc chief came to Air’elon and told him the orcs would allow the party to live in the troglodyte lair. Klaatu also asked that the group visit him when they were ready to go after Longtail, the mysterious, missing former ringleader of the evil humanoids. With that, the orcs returned to their lair and the party got to work cleaning out the troglodyte maze.
The party recovered for two days in the lair of the now-dead troglodytes. Low on food, they made do with the ill-smelling tails of the odiferous lizard-kin using ample prestidigitations to disguise the scent and flavor of the meal. From there, they returned to the furnace rooms they’d found with the orcs to explore a passageway they’d neglected. It almost seemed as if the party was working together as a team after the battle with the troglodytes. However, tensions briefly returned after a brief skirmish with some fiendish dire rats.
Walker, the ranger, had given the envenomed tusk dagger he’d retrieved to Mina after finding Brock, his new enchanted short sword, but now the monk crept silently through the corridors of the dungeon with a plan to bury the dagger in the ranger’s back. Walker’s actions in combat and his frequent lack of skill in killing his enemies were an insult to the monk’s sensibilities. She had been raised from an early age to strike her foes accurately and often and allow for no distractions during combat, but this flamboyant ranger from the south could barely be counted on to focus on a few darkmantles when presented with the opportunity to grab a shiny knife. Though it went against all her training and discipline, Mina couldn’t restrain her loathing any longer.
Mina followed silently as Walker explored a passageway alone. The ranger’s back was turned toward a closed door and the monk had the benefit of cover provided by a corner wall. She took the poisonous tooth from her belt, pulled back her arm and threw…
The enchanted weapon struck the wall harmlessly and Walker spun around to the see the monk half-hiding around the corner. “I thought you might want that back,” Mina quickly blurted attempting to cover her attack. The ranger only kept a wary eye on the woman as he picked the tusk up from the floor and placed it under his belt. If he suspected her true intent, he made no indication of it. A moment later, the rest of the party arrived to explore the rooms Walker had found. It was while attempting to open a locked chest in a room full of kobold, orc and darkmantle corpses that they heard the sound of a hundred-thousand, tiny, scratching feet and gnawing teeth drawing close to their location.
Hurk and Runath were standing watch outside when they turned to see the carpet of rats rushing toward them. The warriors fled into the room and closed the door before the rodents could arrive, quickly alerting their companions to the attack. Thinking quickly, the party piled up broken furniture in front of the door and doused it in lamp oil they’d found in the troglodyte lair. Air’elon lit up the oil with a quick spell and Hurk flung open the door allowing the rats to pour into the flames. To their horror and dismay, the rodents simply ran over and through the pile of refuse ignoring the heat and fire. The fiendish rats swarmed over the group and only Mina’s kicks and punches seemed to have any effect on them until Air’elon cut loose with a fan of flames that burned hotter than even the hellish creatures could endure.
Howdy! I had a busy week so it took me a little longer to update the journal, but I'm back with all new tales of adventure from our intrepid prisoners and their orcish allies! No pictures this week, but I'll definitely have some ready for the next installment.
Our band of heroes is closing on both the end of their first month of captivity and the source of the fiendish monsters but, before they can claim victory, they'll have to get through...
DAY 27-28 THE HUNT FOR LONGTAIL
Saelin, the half-elf bard, was still recuperating in the orcs’ lair nearly two days after his companions had left when the two orc warriors left behind to stand guard approached him brandishing their axes. The bigger of the two warriors grunted that Klaatu had instructed them to kill the bard if the orcs did not return within one day of their journey to kill the troglodytes and, he was pretty sure, one day had passed. Taking advantage of the warrior’s ignorance and lack of counting skills, the bard quickly informed the orcs that only a few hours had passed and that he would be more than happy to tell them when his day was up. Afterall, he’d hate to see the orcs get into any trouble for not following orders. Thus, Saelin was found safe and unharmed when Klaatu and his remaining warriors returned to the lair. The orc chief was surprised to find the bard alive, but informed him of where to find his companions and sent him on his way. Joined by Parmesan the celestial golden retriever, Saelin headed into the dungeon to find the rest of the party.
Walker, Ranoth, Mina, Runath, Air’elon, Hurk and Ayla had just finished off a swarm of fiendish rats and emptied another chamber of the creatures’ dire cousins when they discovered the former kennels of the krenshar mounts of the kobolds. It appeared the area they were in had once been the lair of Longtail’s kobolds before the creatures were forced out by troglodytes and fiendish monsters. Two krenshar bodies, nearly picked clean of meat, laid in one corner of the room near a passage to the south. Hoping to find Saelin and renew their hunt for Longtail, the group made their way through the passage.
Parmesan, with Saelin in tow, sniffed along the corridor of the dungeon searching for the human who had summoned him to this place. Though no longer compelled by the magic of the cleric’s spell, the heavenly pooch felt that helping him and his companions was the right thing to do. It had been nearly a month since Ranoth had passed through many of these side passages and the tracking was slow going but, eventually, Saelin and Parmesan heard the familiar sound of Air’elon being derisive. The pair showed their companions to a secret door they had witnessed a swarm of rats pouring from and headed inside to check out the area.
A heavy stench permeated the chamber beyond the secret door and the party found mountains of garbage piled high throughout the room. Then, through eyes teary from the scent of rotting filth, the group saw two immense swarms of fiendish rodents bubble up from the refuse to attack! The battle was quickly over, but red welts and boils were already appearing on the skin of many of the party members who had contracted a fever from the combination of rat bites and terrible air. Luckily for them, Runath’s goddess had graced him with the ability to allay the suffering of the diseased. After a day of rest in the orcs’ lair, the dwarf was able to cure all of the afflicted and the party was able to move on with Klaatu and his warriors joining the search for the mysterious Longtail.
The group of adventurers and orcs came upon a locked door marked by the celestial rune for fire in the northeast corner of the dungeon. Remembering what they had experienced with the rune-marked doors in the past, Ranoth asked Air’elon to cast a fire spell at the door which caused a gust of heated air to blast forth as it creaked open. Within the room, the group found a bronze plate marked by the same rune and Mina decided she would attempt to stand on the plate. Immediately, flames erupted from the floor severely burning the monk. Thinking it best to leave the plate behind, the group moved on to a room decorated with two segmented columns. However, the columns were apparently part of some long ago sprung trap that had never reset. A skeleton dangled from the many blades that jutted from the columns’ segments and seemed to bar access to the dungeon beyond. With a little orcish muscle power, the party was able to push the blades aside and pass into the next chamber.
A clawed and battered door rested heavily on its hinges to the right of the party, but something down the tunnel to the left seemed to glow and pulse with an eerie light. Walker, unable to resist the lure of something shiny, led any who would follow toward the light as Hurk, Runath and the orcs investigated the battered door which creaked open to reveal a furious, raging, fiendish owlbear reveling in a pile of corpses and chasing a fearful darkmantle around the room. Greedy for the honor of either defeating or capturing the beast for himself, Klaatu insisted he and his orcs would stay to fight the beast. The dwarf and the half-orc looked at one another, readied their shields and followed the orcs into the room.
Meanwhile, Walker led Ranoth, Mina, Ayla, Saelin, Parmesan and Air’elon toward the source of the strange light. There, in a long, columned chamber, like an ancient chapel, a glowing round plane of warm, red light rippled and shifted as a sound like a dull roar filled the room. Several darkmantles laid dead around the room, blasted by some unseen magic, and the yawning portal seemed ready to expel some new horror into the dungeon.
This is it folks! The end of Region "A." The party has fought hard to get here and they've suffered a few casualties along the way. They've seen alliances fall and companions cursed and carried off screaming by tentacled horrors. A huge battle deserves a pretty huge update so without further ado, let's get right into the action! Who will survive...
DAY 28 - THE BATTLE IN THE CHAPEL!
Hurk and Runath charged into the room as Klaatu and his orcs surrounded the screeching fiendish owlbear. Heavily outnumbered, the owlbear tore and slashed at the warriors as Klaatu let out a mighty yell and buried his enchanted axe in the creature’s shoulder. The fighting was fierce and one of the orcs was laid low by the monster but there was little the owlbear could do to keep from falling to the combined attacks of nine orcs and the two adventurers. Finally, the creature fell to a powerful blow from an orcish axe but Hurk made the mistake of striking at the fallen monster and tore a huge gash in its hide, spilling its meat onto the floor. The orc who struck the final blow against the owlbear glared at the half-orc fighter. The creature’s hide was in rough shape from the fight, but Hurk’s late hit had nearly ruined it. Klaatu quickly claimed victory for himself claiming it was his magical axe that left the deepest wounds, but not before chastising Hurk for his breech of etiquette.
Runath and Hurk moved across the room to examine the bodies of some of the owlbear’s victims. There, in a pile of gore and shredded fur, they found the remains of Boyikt, Malakili-li and the krenshar along with the remains of an ogre. As they searched the dead for loot, Runath heard two of the orcs whispering behind him. Unable to understand their language, the dwarf alerted Hurk to what was happening. The pair of adventurers decided to move toward the exit to the room, but they were stopped short by five of the orc warriors.
“He is mad at you,” said the lead orc as he glared at Hurk and pointed at the warrior who had struck the final blow against the owlbear. “But that not your only problem. I mad at you too, and so are they,” he grinned as he pointed at the other three orcs. “Now, you die!”
“Come on then,” was Hurk’s only reply as the warriors raised their axes and prepared to attack. Though Runath couldn’t understand what was said, he knew what a fight looked like and he shouted for Klaatu to get his warriors under control. It was too late.
The pair of adventurers quickly found themselves ganged up and nearly surrounded by the five orcs. Runath attempted to defend himself, not wanting to make himself a target for the vengeful orcs, but it was no use. The bloodthirsty creatures wanted them both dead. In truth, they’d been ordered by Klaatu to start the fight. This was his chance to pick off two of the adventurers and ensure his warriors would have the numbers to overpower the rest if they were betrayed. He could always claim the half-orc and dwarf had been killed by the owlbear. Still, the other adventurers could return at any moment so Klaatu made an act of trying to pull his warriors off Hurk and Runath, expecting he could tell his “allies” the warriors acted on their own.
It wasn’t long before the dwarf and the half-orc were struck down. Runath floored one of the orcs and Hurk took one with him as he collapsed but it wasn’t enough. For now, the two adventurers laid still on the floor, their blood mixing with the blood of orcs.
Walker, Ranoth, Mina, Saelin, Ayla, Air’elon and Parmesan stood before the swirling vortex of planar energy. The ranger tossed an agate into the portal and it disappeared with a small burst of flame. Suddenly, the vortex began to open and the screams of the damned could be heard from the other side. Mixed with those screams however, were the cries of nine prisoners of the dungeon who had been trussed up and laid out as a sacrifice to the fiends beyond the planar gate. Among the prisoners were two familiar faces. Turag, the cowardly orc, and Marcus the cursed elf, squirmed and wriggled in their bindings as the planar gate swelled and glowed. Luckily for them, the adventurers were closer to the portal as a batch of darkmantles emerged from the vortex.
A terrible battle broke out as fiendish creatures poured from the gate. Walker fell early to the darkmantles and one of the sacrifices was strangled and carried off by one of the evil creatures. Swarms of fiendish rats, stirges and dire rats emerged one after the other and the adventurers barely managed to kill one group of the beasts before another batch would appear. Ranoth stood over the fallen ranger, valiantly defending Walker’s life while Saelin cut the sacrifices free of their bonds. Mina and Air’elon stood near the portal attempting to kill the creatures as they emerged and Parmesan, the celestial golden retriever, ran to and fro crushing the fiendish monsters in his teeth wherever he could find them. At last, the flow of monsters seemed to stop. Ayla, who had run to get help from the orcs, Hurk and Runath, returned with the barely conscious dwarf after using a scroll she’d found to heal his wounds.
The orcs, Ayla reported, had left Runath and Hurk for dead after taking their most valuable equipment and trophies from the owlbear’s corpse. They’d apparently left the party to fight Longtail alone. Ranoth and Parmesan then returned with Runath to heal Hurk. Meanwhile, Air’elon, Mina, Ayla and Saelin attempted to round up the prisoners and lead them to safety. As the group began to leave, a shout could be heard from across the room.
“I will not be denied!” came a desperate voice as a cloud of stinking green smoke burst across the room trapping Mina, Saelin and many of the prisoners within. Mina and Saelin were instantly overcome by the stench and could hardly keep from retching all over themselves. A tall, human sorcerer with a long nose and tattered robes stood at the end of the room, his every movement blurred by some arcane spell. Air’elon attempted to sneak around the edge of the room in order to blast the spellcaster but was suddenly attacked by an invisible foe! An imp, the sorcerer’s familiar, had stung the elven wizard but Air’elon was able to keep his composure up long enough to target the devil with a ray of cold that barely caused the creature any harm. Then, from a prisoner who had been attempting to free Turag, came a cry for a weapon to fight the sorcerer. Saelin, unable to do little more than stagger sickly about the room, tossed the prisoner his rapier. The man, pointing the sword at the sorcerer then shouted, “Surely, you will die this day!” and charged.
The sorcerer unleashed a scorching ray of flame at the charging warrior, but missed his target. The rapier pierced the sorcerer’s chest, but the spellcaster hardly seemed to notice. Something unholy seemed to be giving him incredible resilience. A few moments later, the sorcerer was nearly surrounded. He and Air’elon traded spells, the elf unleashing a cone of frost that wounded Saelin and knocked the rapier-wielding prisoner unconscious while the sorcerer nimbly dodged most of the icy shards. At last, Air’elon, nearly dead from a scorching ray and the stings of the imp, had to turn invisible and seek shelter behind a column. Physical attacks seemed to do little harm to the man, and the adventurers soon discovered why.
“I was so close!” the sorcerer screamed in pain. He seemed to be losing a battle with something inside himself. Suddenly, he tore off his remaining robes and thick fur grew from his body as a long, whip-like tail sprouted from his hindquarters. Longtail, the ratman, was revealed! The rabid rat-beast gnashed its teeth and drops of milky foam dripped from its maw. Air’elon returned from hiding to unleash another spell at the creature but was subsequently knocked unconscious by its imp familiar. Mina, Saelin and Ayla all tried to kill the beast but could hardly bring it to any harm. At last, Runath, Ranoth, Hurk and Parmesan returned! As Ranoth and another of the prisoners held back to heal the wounded, Runath, Hurk and Parmesan pressed in to attack the wererat and the imp. With its master pressed into a corner and heavily outnumbered, the imp turned invisible and fled. Air’elon, straining but awake thanks to the healing hands of one of the prisoners, cast two missiles of magical energy toward the creature which finally slumped against the wall. Ranoth then reached for the dying beast and put it to rest with the bleeding touch of his goddess, Pharasma. Slowly, the rat-like features of the beast gave way to the man underneath and only the body of the sorcerer remained. The creature was dead, but he had inflicted terrible wounds to Mina, Saelin, Ayla and Hurk. Only time would tell if any of them would carry on the legacy of the sorcerer’s curse.
Longtail was defeated and the party of convict/adventurers was left with a swirling gate to Hell and several new mouths to feed. Searching the chambers beyond the portal room, they found the sorcerer’s belongings as well as a stockpile of supplies either taken from the prisoners or brought in by the wererat himself. Amid Longtail’s belongings, they also found a worn, leather-bound journal recording the sorcerer’s thoughts.
It seemed the man who would become the monstrous Longtail was once known as Xenos Gwenn, a kindly, young sorcerer with an unfortunate, but powerful, infernal bloodline. Xenos had contracted wererat lycanthropy while attempting to save a village from a plague of the creatures and fled his homeland to find a cure. Through his imp familiar, Achsyyx, he managed to contact a devil who claimed to be a distant relative. The devil told Xenos he could cure his lycanthropy by sacrificing 198 mortal beings to the denizens of Hell. All he had to do was lead his would-be sacrifices to an ancient prison deep in the mountains and find the portal that would allow the creatures to enter into this world to consume their prey. Believing himself a good man, Xenos refused to sacrifice any humanoids he considered innocent. Instead, he gathered up an army of 200 of the most evil humanoids he could find and lured them with promises of a treasure-filled dungeon and plenty of dwarves, men and elves to kill. They reached the dungeon and things were going well until his army began to divide. Xenos loosed the fiendish monsters into the dungeon too late for many of the evil humanoids had already killed one another. It wasn’t until a group of Antagonis’ soldiers arrived to explore the dungeon that the sorcerer hatched a new scheme.
Somebody was sending defenseless men, women and children into the dungeon. Xenos didn’t know who and he didn’t care. By this time, the sorcerer cared only for finding the cure to his affliction so he decided the new inmates of the dungeon would become his new sacrifices. His plan would have worked splendidly if some of those prisoners hadn’t decided to fight back. By the time the party of adventurers reached the portal, Xenos Gwenn was only 18 sacrifices away from his goal.
Trapped within a circle of powdered silver (placed by Achsyyx, of course) in Longtail’s chamber the party also found a brightly glowing lantern archon. The archon, whose name was Ariel, informed the group that it was the custodian of this region of the dungeon. Longtail had captured it in hopes of gathering information about the dungeon and how to escape once his task was done. Ariel told the adventurers of how the dungeon had been created ages ago by a conglomerate of celestial outsiders to serve as a prison for the most powerful evil creatures the planes had ever known. However as time passed (and for what Ariel could only assume were irreconcilable philosophical differences,) the prison was abandoned. With little incentive to continue their post, many of the azata and angels left the archons and prisoners of the dungeon to spend the rest of eternity bound by their oaths and their chains. Many thousands of years later, the planet’s shifting tectonic plates finally managed to crack the walls of the prison. Though small, the damage was enough to send a fair invitation to any curious mortals who might happen upon the dungeon walls deep underground or high in the mountains. Reports of derro, duergar and other subterranean races breaking into the dungeon began to come from distant regions of the facility. After that, it was only a matter of time before a great earthquake tore a huge fissure through the dungeon setting many of the ancient evils free to once again plague the universe. Ariel, bound forever to its duty as custodian, was destroyed over and over again as it attempted to contain and subdue the fleeing fiends only to re-substantiate within the dungeon walls. Now, the brightly shimmering archon swore it would do what it could to aid the innocent and goodly new inhabitants of its region.
DUNGEON REGION “A” EPILOGUE:
Ariel informed the party that Longtail’s tampering with the planar gate had ensured only one method could be used to close the portal: A mortal creature must willingly enter the vortex while the region custodian or a higher-ranking celestial activated the gate. Regrettably, this meant the mortal would be trapped in Hell and at the mercy of devils. Though never one for heroics, Walker the Teksassian ranger, volunteered for the task. “I think I’ve been a hindrance to this group for long enough,” said the mustachioed tracker with a bit of sarcasm. “If they’ve got forests in Hell, maybe I’ll find a trail back here someday.” With that, the ranger stepped into the portal and waited for Ariel to activate the gate. Unwilling to see a mortal creature suffer alone among devils, Parmesan, the celestial hound, followed Walker into the vortex after licking the faces of Ranoth, Saelin, Runath and Hurk. A moment later, they were both gone and the portal was closed.
Along with Marcus, Turag and the six other prisoners the party rescued from the sacrificial chamber, nine others were located locked up in a nearby room. The warrior who had helped the party in their battle with Longtail turned out to be a cavalier named Balian who had heard tales of Antagonis’ new prison and come to deliver food and healing supplies to the convicts as part of a plan to set the innocent free. Trapped in the dungeon, he told the party he would stay behind to look after the prisoners and any new inmates Antagonis sent them. The other prisoner who lent aid during the battle with the sorcerer, an oracle of the wind named Chu, offered to join the party in their quest for freedom citing the loss of Walker and Saelin, who also decided to stay behind to lend aid and inspiration to the prisoners. As for Klaatu and his orc warriors…
...Klaatu and the orcs waited close by for the sounds of battle to cease from the old chapel where the portal yawned wide. It was the orc chief’s plan to ambush whoever survived the battle and become the undisputed ruler of the dungeon. However, the owlbear meat the orcs carried with them attracted several swarms of fiendish rats that quickly surrounded them. The orcs, too stupid to throw the meat and run, fought valiantly but their axes did little to dissuade the fiendish rodents. It wasn’t long before only the enraged Klaatu remained to flee in disgust from the creatures, but fury could take the orc only so far. He collapsed in a rat-bitten heap moments later and died bleeding on the floor.
|Turin the Mad|