3/31/14

Monday Moodsetter 49

Nico Delort "The Triune Cathedral of Light"
RPG Rorschach: What's the first gaming thought that pops into your head?

3/30/14

Peoples, Tribes, and Gangs in the Montporte Dungeon

It wasn't necessarily my intent to run a dungeon that had factions as its central theme. However, the brave adventurers have come across a number of groups--past and present--that have made a home for themselves in the Montporte Dungeon. The following list is a compilation of what the player characters have learned so far about some of the dungeon denizens, past and present.

Groups from the Past
Mysterious Pane of Glass
Mysterious Denizens: At this point, little is known about the group except for:

  • The mysterious denizens are responsible for the oldest section of the dungeon so far discovered by the player characters--a series of rooms and obelisks that contain powerful but, so far, unavailable magic (the discovery of this area was made during the last session, Session 33, the notes for which will be posted soon).
  • The strange and unexplained pane of glass magic items found in Session 6 and Session 22.

The Elementalists (see below) had discovered the key to understanding the magic of these mysterious denizens as part of their quest of discovering the fundamental nature of the universe.

Elementalists: The core area of the Montpore Dungeon was built by a group of humans who, for lack of a better term, are referred to as the Elementalists. Pliny the Alder described the elementalists this way:
And the people who live there are human, men and women who have dedicated themselves to understanding the very fabric of the universe by study and contemplation of the four elements. They have made themselves disciples of the natural physical order, but also follow the teachings of their elders. These disciples of the elements do not seek to possess material possessions and share all that they have with each other. They believe that violence and war among humankind erupts from the desire for ownership. They are, therefore, a peaceable people. (Pliny the Alder, Lost Scroll)
In a similar fashion, the first dwarven companions of the Elementalists described them like this:
The Elemental Monastery was started by a number of devout humans, who had dedicated themselves to the study and contemplation of the nature of the universe. They focused on learning about the nature of the world around them, particularly its physical makeup. They also spent considerable amount of time and energy in contemplation and study. Unlike our folk, they do not devote themselves to the gods and goddesses. They are not religious, but they are pious and devout. They lead simple lives, sharing property in common, giving to the poor and needy, and treating everyone fairly, with much kindness and respect. (Dwarven Construction Record)
However, the player characters had learned from Allindrihl the Elf (in Session 10) that the Elementalists had suffered a series of civil wars. Ultimately, the Elementalists split into three groups: (1) A group now known as the "Breeders;" (2) A group of demon worshipers; and (3) a third unknown group.

According to Golnar the dwarf, the elementalists "went mad" as they discovered and used the secrets of the mysterious denizens. This led to their demise.

Dwarves: The Elementalists engaged a small group of dwarves to assist them in the construction of the Montporte Dungeon. The story of their early history is recorded in the Dwarven Construction Record. The player characters also discovered a dwarven document, a letter, from civil war period. The dwarves were all but wiped out by the demon worshiping faction of the Elementalists during the civil war. The dwarven goddess, Doluth, hid the last remaining dwarves (Session 22 and Session 33, the most recent session).

Gnomes: Like the dwarves, the gnomes of Montporte were caught in the crossfire of the Elementalists civil wars. The player characters have found some evidence that some of the gnomes managed to escape destruction. The most obvious evidence is Dwemmon, the gnome rescued from hobgoblin slave traders in Session 29. Dwemmon claims that he was living in a subterranean forest until he was taken prisoner by the hobgoblins.

Groups in the Present
Orcs: The player characters started their adventures in Montporte Dungeon by rescuing a group of humans from a band of orcs. The orcs were using the Montporte Dungeon as a temporary base in their ongoing conflict with local kobolds. The player characters finished off the orcs in Session 4, rescuing the human captives in the process.

Kobolds: Somewhere in the northern part of Level 1, a band of kobolds have made a home for themselves as they follow the meglomaniac dreams of their leader, Degmar. Little Larry, the player characters' kobold henchman, gives a history of the kobold band in the telling of his own story.

Ants: There is an ant colony on Level 1 of unknown size. The Dwarven Construction Record mentions an ant colony in the same location. If it is the same colony, it has existed for thousands of years.

Allindrihl and the Uyoga: Led by Allindrihl the elven mushroom farmer, the uyoga (mushroom folk) live in a colony on Level 2 of the dungeon.

"Breeders:" The Breeders are one of the three groups that resulted from the demise of the Elementalists. They breed various forms of humans for food, for slaves, and for soldiers. They are currently ruled by Elias the One and the Council of the Eternals. They are known to have a sacrificial ritual, using gnomes, to ward off the aging process and natural death, but the player characters know little of the process.

Rebels: The rebels are a small ragtag group who live on Level 3 of the Montporte Dungeon. Using guerilla tactics, the rebels have managed to survive despite the overwhelming power of the Breeders. Daria, a former Breeder novice, is the leader of the rebels. She is also a former apprentice of Allindrihl; he continues to help Daria when and where he can.

Demon Worshipers: The second of the three groups descending from the Elementalists. Little is known about them, except that they dwell deeper in the Montporte Dungeon.

Lost Elementalists: Allindrihl the elf mentioned a third group or faction that resulted from the Elementalist civil war, but he provided no other information.

3/27/14

RPG Blog Carnival (March 2014): Virtual Table Tops and Online Play

Douglas Cole (Gaming Ballistic) started off a chain of excellent blog posts on other blogs with his post on using virtual table top systems to game online. I have used three systems: Gametable, Fantasy Grounds II, and Roll20.

Gametable: Gametable is a very simple Java-based program, which will be an issue for Java haters. I think Gametable works works great for dungeon-based play, particularly sessions involving dungeon exploration. Just start with a blank graph screen and draw the rooms and corridors as the players explore. I can draw a map from scratch in Gametable faster than I can reveal a prepared map using the fog-of-war function in other VTT. Gametable is great for those who do their mapping on graph paper...no need to create an electronic map ahead of time. Just draw a map for the players as they explore. Gametable is not pretty, but its simplicity reduces glitches. Because the GM's computer is the host server, port issues can be a significant challenge.

Fantasy Grounds II: Very pretty and feature rich. The fact that the GURPS rules are built in makes it my go-to VTT if I run a GURPS campaign. The GM is the host, so it has the same port issues as Gametable but I think Fantasy Grounds is easier to set up. The high amount of data transferred back and forth can make it glitchy, plus it can interfere with Skype or Google hangout conversations.

Roll20: Just log-in, set up a web-based campaign, and then invite your gaming group. The GM does have to upload maps and such, but that is easy to do. It is not a pretty interface and it is not always obvious how to do things but the instructions are helpful. We are currently using Roll20 for the Montporte Dungeon campaign.

3/26/14

Player Post About Monday's Montporte Session (Session #33)

Tim (Gothridge Manor) had a nice post about our most recent Montporte Dungeon session. The players got caught in a vertical maze (featuring several spiral staircases) and were lost before they realized what had happened. Instead of backtracking and figuring out the lay of the land, the party decided to step onto a teleport pad they had discovered...a teleport pad with an unknown destination. When their is an unknown destination involved in a teleport device, I start with a blank player map in Roll20 and randomly scramble the directions and the orientation of the player map. So, they were confused in the maze, but now they are lost. I will reconstruct the sequence of events, using maps, in another post as it was one of the few things that went even better than I could have imagined.

3/25/14

Improvisation

I have the feeling that when most people hear the word "improvise," they think of something that is the opposite of planning, as in "I didn't plan for it, I just improvised." In other words, improvising is the same as winging it. Following this logic, improvisation doesn't require work or planning; in many ways it is the opposite.

I think of improvising differently, perhaps because I have been playing music since I was a young child. As a musician, improvisation is an activity that takes skill and practice. To be good at improvisation requires an understanding of music theory (intuitive and cognitive), a good ear, and enough chops (skill on the instrument) to create the appropriate musical sounds on the fly. Each musician develops improvisation skills a bit differently. For me, it comes from time spent mastering various kinds of scales, rhythms and chord progressions (building on the blocks of melody, harmony and rhythm)--that it what I call "practice." It is very similar to drills performed by athletes. And it is different than learning and playing songs--I consider that "rehearsal." Important and necessary, but it doesn't develop me as a musician in the same way that practice does.
Disciplined Practice & Preparation: A Key to Improvisation
I am able to improvise as a musician because I prepare and practice. The musicality of my improvisation is a result of my understanding of music, a trained ear, and enough skill/muscle memory with my chosen instruments to create something interesting in the moment. When I do not put time and effort into practice, I quickly lose my creative edge and I have a harder time playing something interesting when I improvise.

I find the same thing is true when I am running a gaming session. I am able to improvise best when I am well-prepared and I have put in the necessary time to plan. I am able to draw upon the complexities of the world I am creating and the vast resources of gaming community to respond creatively to player activities during a session. That to me is improvising. I am not smart enough to run a good session by winging it any more than I can create an interesting guitar solo without practice.

I relearn this every time I run a session without preparation, as I have done the last few weeks in our Montporte Campaign. I have been run ragged by work and have nothing left in the tank to devote to preparation and planning. The less I prepare and plan and am forced to improvise, the less I am able to improvise effectively. I just end up drawing blank after blank. I notice myself struggling; it is probably not apparent to the players in any given session. However, there is a cumulative impact on not preparing that makes the sessions less interesting and challenging for players.

Like any analogy, there is a point where the analogy between playing an RPG and playing music breaks down. However, because both music and RPGs have elements of performance art to them and they are also typically group activities, there are a number of analogies that can be drawn. Improvisation is one such analogy.

3/24/14

3/23/14

Montporte Dungeon Campaign Session 32 Notes

The Cast
Adzeer Mattiu, Hunter of the Second Circle (Half Orc, Hunter): Tim (Gothridge Manor)
Dante Rathburn (Human, Warlock): Chris (The Clash of Spear on Shield)
Luven Lightfinger (Human, Thief): Rob (Bat in the Attic)
Duncan Kern (Gnome, Wizard/Thief): Dan
Leif (Half-Elf, Wizard/Cleric):
Larramore “Little Larry” (Kobold, Marksman): NPC
Diana (Human, Torch Bearer, Goat Driver): NPC
Marcus Aurelius (Magic Sword): NPC
Daria (Human, Rebel Leader): NPC
Herodius (Human, Rebel): NPC
Silvaria (Human, Rebel): NPC
Muh ("Gaunt," Rebel): NPC
Zot ("Gaunt," Rebel): NPC
Mechlor (Thuragian, Rebel): NPC
Dwemmon (Gnome): NPC
5 cave goats
Map A (1 square = 5 feet)
The Session
The brave adventurers of Montporte Dungeon found themselves in a temple or sacred space at the end of Session 31 (Room 1 on Map A above). The party explored the room at the beginning of Session 32. They found the remnants of symbols of the four elements on the altar and the walls--consistent with the fact that the Montporte Dungeon started as an elementalist monastery. It was clear that someone had made the effort to remove the symbols and art, perhaps the "breeders" who now inhabited this area of the dungeon.

There was a shallow pool at the southern end of Room 1 with glowing liquid (glowing light blue). Leif had tried to touch it at the end of Session 31 and received a severe jolt of energy. After further examination, the party determined that it was water infused with positive energy. It could cause considerable splash damage to undead (3d8 in a breakable flask hurled at undead). The party gathered up 8 or so flasks of the stuff before leaving the room.

The party exited the room through the north door and found themselves face to face with a statue that resembled Cassius the ghost (an elementalist)--Area 2 on Map A above. A search of the statue turned up no surprises.

The party found a secret door in Area 3. They found a narrow corridor with a descending set of stairs heading south. They followed the corridor, which had a second set of stairs heading back up. This led the party to Area 4, which had a room to the east filled with human bones and lots of dust. A search of the bones turned up nothing useful, but the party discovered that the owners of the bones all died a violent death (e.g. crushing and burning). The party went back north through Room 1 and Area 2.

This time the party continued north through a padlocked door into Area 5. Here they found long narrow corridors that were some sort of catacombs. There were skeleton tracks on the floor. They removed some bricks to check out the dead for treasure but found little of interest, besides piles of bones in tight little crypts.

In Area 6, the party were approached from the east by two petros skeletons. Adzeer, Dante and Little Larry attacked. The next round, the rear of the party was attacked from the west by two more petros skeletons. Adzeer and company found them sprayed with pebbles, but Dante was able to do considerable damage with a flask of positive energy liquid from Room 1. Duncan attempted a similar flask attack at the rear of the party but missed. The narrow corridor made for a slow grinding battle, but the party was successful. Happily, the party discovered that each petros skeleton had a precious gem of considerable value.

The party moved to the far eastern end of the catacombs and found a set of steps heading down (Area 8). They decided to ignore the stairs and went back to the west. The party found more catacombs behind some secret doors (Area 7) but decided to leave that area, as the thick dust on the floor indicated a lack of recent foot traffic.

The party went back to Area 2 and decided to head due east. They went through the padlocked door, which led them into Area 9. The floor in Area 2 had been swept clean of dust and debris, but Area 9 had dust on the floor...dust with lots of footprints heading south.

The party followed the footprints in the dust, which led them into another catacomb area to the south (Area 10). Here they found that the footprints disappeared into bricked up crypt area. They started poking around and found a trap door in the floor inside a small crypt. This led to a ladder, which in turn descended 20' down into a narrow corridor heading east. The party climbed down the ladder and moved east down the corridor (Area 11).

This is where the session ended for the night.

The Dungeon So Far
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3

3/22/14

Petros Skeleton--Montporte Dungeon Campaign Critter

PETROS SKELETON
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: Strike x 2 (1d6)
Saving Throw: 12
Special: Pebble Spray; Constitution Drain; Sleep/Charm Immunity
Move: 11
Challenge Level/XP: 6/400

Petros skeletons are undead human skeletons whose bone structure includes a high proportion of elemental earth. They also accumulate aggregate gravel and pepples, which they are able to use as an attack form. They have the ability to shoot a sheet of flame from their hands. Petros skeletons are treated as wights for the purposes of being turned by clerics.

COMBAT: Petros skeletons are similar to other undead skeleton in combat. They do get two attacks per round, one strike with each hand,
as they are not armed with weapons (weapons interfere with their burning hands ability).

PEBBLE SPRAY: Petros skeletons are able to shoot pebbles in a 20' radius once per day. The pebble spray has an effect akin to canister shot or shrapnel. It does 2d4 in damage to living creatures within the attack radius; half damage if a saving throw is successfully made by each target.

CONSTITUTION DRAIN: Opponents lose one point of constitution when struck by the skeletal hand of the petros skeleton. Lost constitution points are regained at a rate of one point per hour, but an opponent dies if their constitution reaches zero.

SLEEP/CHARM IMMUNITY: Like other forms of undead creatures, petros skeletons are immune to sleep and charm spells.

3/17/14

3/15/14

Montporte Dungeon Campaign Session 31 Notes

The Cast
Adzeer Mattiu, Hunter of the Second Circle (Half Orc, Hunter): Tim (Gothridge Manor)
Luven Lightfinger (Human, Thief): Rob (Bat in the Attic)
Duncan Kern (Gnome, Wizard/Thief): Dan
Leif (Half-Elf, Wizard/Cleric):
Larramore “Little Larry” (Kobold, Marksman): NPC
Diana (Human, Torch Bearer, Goat Driver): NPC
Marcus Aurelius (Magic Sword): NPC
Daria (Human, Rebel Leader): NPC
Herodius (Human, Rebel): NPC
Silvaria (Human, Rebel): NPC
Muh ("Gaunt," Rebel): NPC
Zot ("Gaunt," Rebel): NPC
Mechlor (Thuragian, Rebel): NPC
Dwemmon (Gnome): NPC
5 cave goats
Map A (1 square = 5 feet)
The Session
We ended Session 30 in the middle of a battle in Area 1 (Map A above), as the party had met up with Elonora and some of her minions. Elonora, the "spider mistress," was one of the leaders of the "Breeders." After casting a rainbow pattern spell (which affected Dante and Luven), Elonora ducked around a corner to east in Area 2.

Just as the battle appeared to be winding down, with the party prevailing, a second wave of thuragians (crab folk) came out of the door leading to Room 3 (Map A above). These were quickly dispatched by the party. This allowed the party to enter Room 3 to explore it.

Elonora and a really big glowing green fuzzy spiders were waiting for the party in Room 3. The party was dazzled by an exchange of magic missiles between Daria and Elonora, but Duncan used a color spray to stun Elonora. Luven then used his backstabbing skills and the ever-complaining Marcus Aurelius to finish her off.

The party moved north to Area 2 and then west to Area 4. The plan was to continue their trek north, but they decided to explore the door to the south at Area 4, which led them into Room 5. The room contained 2 "gaunts" and a breeder acolyte (wearing a white hooded cloak). When the acolyte asked the party who they were, they answered by mortally wounding him. This allowed Daria to take temporary control of the gaunts.

The party, in a generous mood, deciding to heal the poor guy and then interrogate him. They discovered that there was a lot of foot traffic in and out of the door leading north from Area 4. This traffic included some "garnocks" (a termed used for gnomes). This gave the party some confidence that they were on the right path. Learning this, the party was merciful and let the acolyte and his gaunts live.

The party moved north from Area 4 into Room 6 and then on to Room 7. Room 7 contained a number of doors and, following Adzeer's principle of "staying left," the party opened the western door that ultimately led them to Room 8.

Room 8 contained 3 large wooden boxes. Two of the boxes contained clothing and the third box contained bones. The bones appeared to the right size and shape to be gnome bones. The bones did not appear to be fresh, which alleviated fears that the party was too late to save the captive gnomes.

Leif took this opportunity to play a practical joke on Luven. Leif quietly placed some bones in some of the clothing and then used prestidigitation to move the bones around. Luven freaked out and attacked the bones. Leif's laughter ended Luven's assault. Luven was not amused.

The party moved north into Room 9 (Map A above). This room had soft illumination coming from the entire ceiling. It appeared to be a temple or sacred space. There was a pool of glowing liquid (light blue glow) at the southern end of the room. Leif dipped his finger in the pool and took significant damage as he was zapped with some sort of energy blast.

This is where we ended the session for the night.

The Dungeon So Far
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3

3/13/14

Dungeon Exploration Maps: 30 Days in the Hole

After 30 sessions, a clearer picture of the Montporte Dungeon is emerging on the players' maps. Here is a history of that exploration (in 5 session increments). I am only including Level 1 in this post, not Levels 2 or 3, just because of the number of maps:

After Session 5
The brave adventurers had explored a bit of Level 1 and had this map to show for it:
Level 1 (1 square = 5 feet)

After Session 10
Level 1 (1 square = 5 feet)
After Session 15
Level 1 (1 square = 5 feet)
After Session 20
Level 1 (1 square = 5 feet)
After Session 25
Level 1 (1 square = 5 feet)
After Session 30
Level 1 (1 square = 5 feet)

3/11/14

LIBRAM MYSTERIUM VOLUME 2: Now Accepting Submissions

Pulp Mill Press is now accepting submissions for Libram Mysterium Volume 2, from now until the first part of June. Horror is the theme for Volume 2 so get cracking on those creepers, chillers and screamers.

Libram Mysterium Volume 1 is available for purchase in print and electronic formats.

3/10/14

3/9/14

Montporte Dungeon Campaign Session 30 Notes

The Cast
Adzeer Mattiu, Hunter of the Second Circle (Half Orc, Hunter): Tim (Gothridge Manor)
Luven Lightfinger (Human, Thief): Rob (Bat in the Attic)
Dante Rathburn (Human, Warlock): Chris (The Clash of Spear on Shield)
Leif (Half-Elf, Wizard/Cleric):
Larramore “Little Larry” (Kobold, Marksman): NPC
Diana (Human, Torch Bearer, Goat Driver): NPC
Marcus Aurelius (Magic Sword): NPC
Daria (Human, Rebel Leader): NPC
Herodius (Human, Rebel): NPC
Silvaria (Human, Rebel): NPC
Muh ("Gaunt," Rebel): NPC
Zot ("Gaunt," Rebel): NPC
Mechlor (Thuragian, Rebel): NPC
Dwemmon (Gnome): NPC
5 cave goats
Map A (1 square = 5 feet)
The Session
Session 29 ended after a tough battle between the party and 2 hobgoblins plus a boreal troll. Session 30 of the Montporte Dungeon Campaign started in Room 1, the site of that battle. The party decided to do a bit more exploring in the area. They went to Room 2, previously unexplored. They found this room to be very cold and covered in a layer of frost. There was a small pile ice in the corner, which after some heat was applied, revealed itself as a pile of feces (appearing to be from a very very large dog). The party realized that this was probably from the frost wolves they met and killed in Session 28.

The party, on a mission to rescue a group of gnomes reported to be held captive on the northern end of Level 2, moved east. They had decided to go up to Level 1, to avoid trouble, and then descend back down to Level 2, closer to their destination. Daria, the leader of the rebels and a new member of the adventuring party, advised the party to take a previously unexplored path. This led from Area 3 (Map A above) through Rooms 4 and 5 to the stairs in Room 6 that led to Level 1.
Map B (1 square = 5 feet)
The party went up the stairs to Room 7 (Map B above...lower right corner). Except for a brief conversation with Cassius, the ghostly caretaker of the Montporte Dungeon, the brave adventurers were able to traverse Level 1 without incident to arrive in Room 8 (Map B above...upper left corner). Room 8 contained a spiral staircase leading back down to Level 2.
Map C (1 square = 5 feet)
The party descended the stairs to find themselves in Room 9 (Map C above). The party moved east and north into Room 10, a very large and harshly illuminated room. The party had fought a long set of battles in this room back in Session 15.

The party saw a "gaunt" and an initiate (in a white hood & cloak) in Room 10. They cast a sleep spell, searched the sleeping victims, they decided to hurry north after hearing someone call for "Anarsia" from beyond in closed door in Room 11. Daria answered the unknown caller, letting them know that everything was "fine." The party, however, wanted to maintain their stealthy existence on Level 2 so they scurried off.

The party moved north, up the 20' wide corridor, unexplored territory for the party. When they reached area 12, they were meet by 2 thuragians (crab folk) and 2 really big glowing green fuzzy spiders coming from the north. Accompanying them was a woman that Daria identified as Elonora, the Spider Mistress, and a member of the Eternal Council. The party first heard of her in Session 27, when they had discovered that she had been put in charge of destroying the party by Elias the One (the ruler of the "Breeders").

The party was spread out along the corridor and characters in the lead moved to engage the spiders and crabmen. As they did so, 2 more thuragians (crab folk) entered the corridor from a door on the east wall. This effectively cut the adventuring party in two. At the same time, Elonora cast rainbow pattern, which entranced Dante and Luven. This left Adzeer and Little Larry as the only effective fighters in the northern half of the party.

The party was able to hit Elonora with ranged attacks, which led her to take cover around a corner. However, Dante and Luven were drawn north (inside the rainbow pattern), directly in the path of the waiting spiders.

In the middle of the party, the crabmen kept everyone busy. Leif, Zot, and Muh engaged them in melee combat while Daria peppered them with magic missiles. Eventually, the party killed both crabmen, but they had been effective tactical diversions. Eventually, Dante and Luven broke out of the control of the rainbow pattern but not before the spiders had inflicted some damage (fortunately, the spiders are not poisonous).

We had to end the session because it was getting late, leaving the conclusion of the battle to the next session.

The Dungeon So Far
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3

3/3/14

Montporte Dungeon Campaign Session 29 Notes

The Cast
Adzeer Mattiu, Hunter of the Second Circle (Half Orc, Hunter): Tim (Gothridge Manor)
Dante Rathburn (Human, Warlock): Chris (The Clash of Spear on Shield)
Luven Lightfinger (Human, Thief): Rob (Bat in the Attic)
Duncan Kern (Gnome, Wizard/Thief): Dan
Larramore “Little Larry” (Kobold, Marksman): NPC
Diana (Human, Torch Bearer, Goat Driver): NPC
Marcus Aurelius (Magic Sword): NPC
Daria (Human, Rebel Leader): NPC
Herodius (Human, Rebel): NPC
Silvaria (Human, Rebel): NPC
Muh ("Gaunt," Rebel): NPC
Zot ("Gaunt," Rebel): NPC
Mechlor (Thuragian, Rebel): NPC
Dwemmon (Gnome): NPC
5 cave goats
Map A (1 square = 5 feet)
The Session
Session 29 started where Session 28 left off: The brave adventurers had found the first room of Level 3 of the Montporte Dungeon. They had been searching for Daria and her band of rebels at the far eastern end of Level 2 when they heard footsteps and decided to give chase. They followed sound of the footsteps to Level 3.

Session 29 started in Room 1 (Map A above). The party, using Adzeer's tracking ability, followed the footprints in the dust through the door in the west wall. This led them into an odd room (Room 2). The floor in Room 2 was 15 below the door but there was a steel catwalk leading across the room to a door in the west wall.

The party peeked into the western door (leading into Room 3) and saw: (a) it was the mirror image of Room 1 and (b) the dust on the floor was undisturbed. No footprints. So they looked around more closely in Room 2. They discovered that, based on the dust on the catwalk, foot traffic went from the eastern door of the room to the middle of the catwalk and then disappeared off the northern edge of the catwalk. It was as if someone was jumping off the catwalk to the floor 15' below. However, the floor appeared to be undisturbed. No footprints.

Using the finder's lens, Duncan discovered a secret door in the north wall, 15' above the floor of the room and even with the catwalk. Using levitation, he propelled himself over, removed the trap in the door and opened it. He entered, and the rest of the party found it easy to jump the 5' gap.

This took the party into Room 4, which had a pool of bubbling green goo in the floor. A catwalk went across the pool to a door on the north wall. The party noticed that the west, north and east walls of the rooms had several arrow slits in the them, which meant that they were sitting ducks for missile and magic attacks from unseen opponents.

Luven, using his magically enhanced hearing, could hear voices through the arrow slits, both female and male. Duncan, using his magic beanie, became invisible and went out on the catwalk to see if he could see into the slits. He was able to see a human male, a human female, a few "gaunts" and a thuragian (crab folk).

In the meantime, the party was addressed by an unseen female (calling out from the arrow slits). She wanted to know who they were and why they were there. The discussion was tense at the start, but eventually both sides decided to trust each other. The party learned that they had found Daria and her small band of rebels.

The party was invited into the rebel hideout. Adzeer was able to give Daria the map that Allindrihl had given him way back in Session 16. She took this as conclusive proof of the party's trustworthiness:
Allendrihl's Map of Level 1
Daria explained that her rebel band had been decimated in a battle with the Breeders. Of her original 30 rebels, only six were left, including herself, Herodius (human), Silvaria (human), Mechlor (thuragian "crab folk"), Zot ("gaunt"), and Muh ("gaunt").

The party learned a few new things from Daria:

  • Elias the One, the leader of the Breeders, was very powerful and could usually be found on Level 4 of the dungeon.
  • Elias the One had purchased several gnomes from a group of hobgoblins and was going to use them in a sacrificial ritual that would grant some sort of undead life to the participants. Daria didn't know why gnomes were the sacrifice of choice in these rituals. She thought the gnomes were being held at the northern end of Level 2.
  • Elias the One didn't seem too concerned about the rebels, although there was a small group of hobgoblins camped out on Level 2, not far from the rebels' hideout. Daria believed them to be paid by Elias the One to capture any remaining rebels. The adventurers were pretty sure that they had killed these hobgoblins (Session 28).
  • The area of Level 3 that served as the rebel hideout could not be accessed from the main part of Level 3. It could only be accessed at the eastern end of Level 2. To get to the main Breeder area and Elias the One, the party would have to go back to Level 2, head west, and then head down to Levels 3 & 4.

Daria asked the party if any of them could read the document she found on Level 1. Allindrihl had told her what to look for and she had ripped some pages out of book with the hopes that she was following Allindrihl's directions. She had been unable to contact him since. Adzeer discovered that Daria had the missing pages out of a dwarven construction log they had found in Session 24.

The pages were written in the dwarven tongue, but Adzeer was able to read it (using the Belt of the Dwarvenkind). The document was a summary of construction of the Montporte Dungeon, originally built as a monastery (here is the PDF version of the document). The party found a very helpful description of five levels of the Montporte Dungeon.

The party was invited on a tour of the hideout and was also invited to rest and relax before heading out. The party slept in Room 6 (Map A above).

The next day, the party decided to rescue the gnomes on Level 2 of the dungeon. They decided to include Daria and her rebels. Duncan scooped up some of the bubbling green goo in Room 4 (Map A above) and put it into a few empty flasks he was carrying.
Map B (1 square = 5 feet)
The party, now doubled in size, headed back up to Level 2 (Room 7 on Map B above). They retraced their steps and met up with two hobgoblins and a boreal troll in Room 8. This is the same place where the hobgoblins and frost wolves were encountered and killed in Session 28. The party had learned their lesson from their last hobgoblin encounter so they attacked immediately.

Dante took a beating from the troll before the party could even position themselves to press their attack. The rest of the party joined in the melee. It was fierce, with the troll having 3 attacks/round and the hobgoblins 2 attacks/round each. Duncan was able to stun the troll with the color spray, which allowed Luven to backstab the troll with two weapons. The troll was still alive, but seriously wounded. It took two more rounds to finish off the troll and the hobgoblins.

The troll was dead but not finished. He began to regenerate, even after his corpse was burned with oil. They poured some of the green goo from Room 4 onto the troll. The troll dissolved and the battle was finally and truly over.

The hobgoblins had a large sack with them, containing a gnome. He was unconscious, but the party was able to revive him. They learned that his name was Dwemmon and that he had been captured by the hobgoblins. He had no idea why they had taken him captive. The hobgoblins were very good at beating him senseless while keeping him alive. He lived in a subterranean forest, but he had no idea how to get back to his home.

This is where the session ended for the night.

The Dungeon So Far
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3

3/1/14

New Battle Axe

Last night I have my first gig with my new battle axe, a Carvin PB5. I will be out playing music again tonight. It was custom-ordered so it took about 3 months for it to arrive. It was worth the wait.

Birdseye Maple Fretboard