I think some of the players have worked it out

The party returned to the ship. There, Capt’n Haddock was able to give them three extremely crappy underwater lanterns. Next day, they returned to the underground fort.

OOC: It was Australia Day long weekend, but the guys on my table last week had agreed to come play at about 6 – a bit earlier than usual. On the night, I had my players but Alix didn’t have hers and left. Wouldn’t you know it – the players on the her table mostly turned up at the usual time. So I had seven players. Arrgh! I slotted them on on a “look, we won’t bother trying to justify this in-game, we’ll just play” basis.

I pumped up the encounter … possibly just a little too far.

But the spriggans were ready for them, and had called on reinforcements. They had put a barrier across the entrance and had a couple of pixies.

It was a bit of a demo on how to use magic to fortify an area. The pixies dropped and entangle over the area, slowing down the assault and making that party easy targets. The spriggans used their scare to run off the tanks, and Fluffy – who was not scared – was dealt with by a sleep arrow.

I forget the details. Half the party – having lost the tanks – turned and ran. The pixies followed them. The ninja ran forward to a breach in the barrier and got clobbered to death and quite a bit of the way past it. Eventually the scare wore off and the tanks returned. They made for the breach and dealt with the remaining spriggans.

The barrier was some crap put across the entrance, 10ft deep. I treated each square as a wooden door for purposes of clearing it. The pixies flew off to follow the characters that ran because shit, they were a bit much and everyone at the table knew it.

A real stand-out was the mage with the wand of Magic Missile, especially with archers behind arrow-slits. He and the other archers made steady progress clearing up the dudes.

We discussed this encounter in email over the following week. Fact is – the EL was insanely high: 8 CR4 monsters vs 7 2nd level characters. It was a DM fuckup, but on the positive side I do think it showcased tactics and magic. This week, the party was far more cohesive.

The party returned to the flooded stairwell and followed it down. It finished at a 20 by 20 room completely underwater. One of the characters, failing to see the danger, walked straight into a Gelatinous Cube. The Gelatinous Cube paralyses its victims, but with seven in the party and counting here was never a danger that they would all fall prey to it. They fell on it and tore it apart, it’s remains carrying a great deal of loot and magic.

I hadn’t been doing treasure as I should, so I put enough loot in the cube to be reasonable wealth for 4 3rd level characters. The drop-ins scored some cash (gems) – I didn’t want to screw up Alix’s table by giving them items. A +1 buckler, +1 weapon, a pearl of power and some cold iron weapons, and some consumables – scrolls for the wizard. I missed including something for the druid. It all adds up, and was actually quite a haul.
This was all according to plan, BTW – I foreshadowed the gelatinous cube by telling the party that the complex was oddly clean, that the floors looked like they had been swept.

After the fight with the cube, some of the party went back to the ship, and a new person turned up – an Assimar Paladin (Maddie’s new character). They then exited the room. It opened out onto a 25′ wide colonnade – all underwater – opening out onto the ocean. A look over the edge revealed a sheer worked stone wall, dropping 30′ to the seabed below.

The party wanted to summon a dolphin to explore, but when you summon a monster, you don’t get a super intelligent talking dolphin – you get a dolphin. It can fight, and you can attempt to get it to do a “trick” (I think). But without a way of talking to it, it’s just an animal.

Proceeding along the colonnade they investigated another room, inhabited by a giant salt-water leech (whatever). It was dealt with by battle-pig and (I think) the bard. As they did so, a circling shark decided to have a go, and was also dispatched without trouble.

Underwater combat and movement is savage if you don’t have a swim speed. Even with a successful DC 10 check, your are at 1/4 movement with penalties to hit. We had a couple of ranged combatants who discovered that being underwater makes bows damn near useless, although I think one of them did manage to kill-steal the shark.

Having said that – perhaps it’s as it should be. I am going to have to trawl some of the supplements to find purchasable mundane gear to make underwater fights possible to do.

Battle pig has barding and +6 natural armour. Ow! Damn near impossible to hit.

Further along the colonnade was another door, but in the gloom beyond it the paladin detected eeeeevil! At the base of the great ramp leading down from the upper floor was some sort of platform on wheels and six undead – one of which had webbing enabling it to swim. Again, the fight proceeded without major incident.

Four zombies, two ghouls, one of them a lacedon. The ghouls didn’t get a hit in, mainly because the party are putting the fighters up front. The better tactics are making it tougher.

The undead dealt with, they investigated a little more. The platform had a mound of some stuff on it, and an old, nearly rotten cargo net over that stuff that radiated very faint transmutation magic. The spell casters agreed that the aura was faint on account of the enchantment being very old. The stuff turned out to be rust, but where the net was touching the rust was still fragments of bright steel. Hoping that underneath all that rust might still be some salvageable loot, they investigated and got lucky – several ingots of steel, and a couple of cold iron, each stamped with a hallmark of some strange script.

In the final room was a magical ring, a pearl of power, and crates and boxes and piles of thin clay tablets – mostly broken and old, but many still legible, covered with that same odd writing.

The ramp up was blocked by a stone portcullis. They considered breaking or open in it somehow, but then decided that an easier solution was to bring the ship around and lower a net which they could load underwater.

Didn’t think of that. A better solution than the one I provided – raising the portcullis and using the ramp.

On the way out they discovered the lairs of the spriggans, and a small network of secret passages leading to the arrow-slits above the stairs, and to the wheelhouse above the portcullis.

Well, Capt’n Haddock was most pleased to hear about a load of steel ingots. Less pleased when the party reminded him that all loot bar writings was theirs. He tried to negotiate for a salvage fee, but the paladin persuaded him and the crew that since they had lost a man, he should be a little less miserly.

During the negotiations, Miston prompted the captain – in elvish – to try to grab the cold iron if possible. Andrew’s character confronted Miston in private, demanding to know why. Miston was unimpressed:

He rolled a 2 on his intimidate 🙂

Boy, I am 800 years old. I have faced nightmares. The cold iron is particularly useful against some of the nightmares we face. Sail with us for long, and you may find yourself wielding weapons made from the very iron you brought back today.

They set sail to return to rendezvous, dropping in to the Naga Clan magick shoppe and chandlery on the way.

One Response to I think some of the players have worked it out

  1. Andrew says:

    Was a good night last night Paul.

    I enjoyed how Arak will now be realizing that he can’t just try muscle everyone, and that there are far scarier things out there than him.

    Thanks for the game 🙂

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