[The story so far]
Session 04(b) - Victory through cunning
The six males (four human, two elven) arranged themselves carefully to creep down the steps into the darkness, knowing they were searching for not only the missing young man but also the first rescue party...
This time there was thoughtfulness. The strongest and highest AC [we play ascending AC] characters took the lead, the second rank had the torch, and a relatively tough character brought up the rear. The elderly cleric, Berignon, was safely shepherded along in the middle ["He's basically the Dalai Lama, he's not going to start zapping folk with spells!"]. They crept their way onwards, quietly exploring for secret passages, and being a little concerned by the trails of blood on the floor that had been left by something being dragged. It wasn't human blood, either [Yes, the elven fighter-mage thought it would be a good idea to taste it... That's going to come back and bite him if he tastes every unknown substance he finds on a dungeon floor], but something fouler with a coppery taint. Orc? Goblin?
They headed down into the demon-face chamber, still encountering nothing but blood trails. A cautious clamber through the mouth did show up something odd, however, the metal that had blood across it felt warm and slightly.... soft. Levering away at it revealed nothing, no draft came from around its setting. It was only at Berignon's insistence that they left it alone. "Come, children, there is foulness here. It reeks of the unravelling of creatures, dark magics and wicked deeds from long ago."
They pressed on.
As they crossed the rope bridge they saw that the blood trail abruptly disappeared over the side, as if the bodies or sources of blood had been thrown below. It was too dark now to see the bottom of the gully so they tied a torch to the end of a long rope and lowered it down. There, a hundred foot or so below, was the bottom. A mixed pile of corpses lay there, some goblin, others human. One was wearing a richly embroidered robe ["Oh no! It's us, I mean, it's our bodies from last time when we failed so badly. Ewww!"]. In the hopes that they could get down to the bottom to retrieve the bodies for decent burial, they carried on across the bridge, finding a matching ["Human, tastes of iron" - thanks resident blood-licker... Kids! Psychos the lot of them] blood trail coming out of the chamber they reached. The torch threw its flickering light around, illuminating the spiralling patterns carved into the stonework and glinting off the giant metallic demon face that decorated the far wall. It matched the one they'd climbed through except this had a closed mouth. "Hey, maybe if we put blood on its lips the mouth will open! That would be pretty dark magic." [Good thinking - signs of hope that problem solving would keep this set of characters alive.]
As they cautiously headed over to it, one of them bumped into something odd. A charred rope end hanging down from the ceiling, protruding from a hole [This was my second favourite moment of the session. They loved that the failed burning of the rope had remained in place - the game world existed beyond their actions, but their actions have lasting consequences. Perfect.]
They threw a sling stone up into the hole and heard it clatter around, followed by an angry chatter - "Whooze dat? Wotcher playin' at?" Goblin! Fortunately four of the party speak goblin so could recognise it and so Aurelius called back "Itz me, innit. Gutrot." [More good play here. I was persuaded that anyone who knew a language would know a couple of names, probably the most common names, in that language. One successful WIS check later, and the nearest human equivalent of Gutrot entered the goblin language.] An ugly and evidently puzzled face appeared in the hole. "But Gutrot's dead, in't ee?" Then seeing that it most definitely wasn't Gutrot, unless he had transformed into a pasty six foot human wizard, the head rapidly withdrew with a squeaked "Yoomans and elfses!"
[We've got to my favourite bit now] Quickly, Nomos gestured to Nori and the two started yelling and clattering their weapons around. Nomos even threw in a couple of goblin insults ["Come on, you always learn the swear words first when picking up a language"], hoping a different voice would persuade the goblin(s) above that help had come. It worked [How could I not encourage this style of play? I reckoned it had a 2/3 chance of working and rolled a 2 on a d6], and three goblins came tumbling down the rope and into the middle of the group of wickedly grinning adventurers who duly slaughtered them in a single round of combat.
Post Session Pondering
Muchmuchmuch better and inventive adventuring this week. I was impressed at how well they adapted from the video-game style of "fight everything" to "we should interact with the environment and even the odds", and it only took one TPK! I shall stop saying nice things about them now as I let them know about this blog and it would never do to let them get big-headed.
I wonder if anything heard the fighting and will come to investigate.....
May you roll criticals,