Return to Undermountain, Pembs Style!
GM’s Perspective, Session Two: GM Jamie The D
Well, an agreement was reached re: Morse’s character, and so Zzar the Drow was born! More interesting decisions were made by the party on this, their effectively 3rd day/night of adventuring, and much hilarity has ensued. Characters have really begun to develop, although it is fair to say that the Realms should fear for their souls should this group save the day!!! Serafine dreams of a weird ring in a web of light.
Day 3, morning: After the rogue had gotten the hell out of Waterdeep (rightly feeling that picking pockets is easier), the party have been looking for a new member, but, alas, none would join them… until the mysterious cloaked figure, Zzar… with a little discussion, he was accepted as a) joining the group, and b) incognito for his own safety… although much flattery was involved, and nobody noticed their old rogue’s weapons and money belt on the new rogue’s person… but then, why would they?
They decide quite swiftly to head for the dungeon, although Tordek and Dwar are still mildly inebriated, and decline further blessings from the priest of Tymora present (although Serafine tries, and fails, to pick the priest’s… robes?)
0:04 – The party reach the bottom, and argue tactics and the plan ahead… Dwar decides to scout instead, reasoning his warrior training will keep him from harm. Nobody notices.
0:08 – Party notices Dwar’s absence, forget tactics, and quickly catch up to him. They enter the Hall of Many Pillars. Something immediately catches Zzar, Dwar, and Tordek’s keen undergrounder eyes, and they investigate a pillar that has no use, architecturally.
0:12 – After establishing to their own satisfaction that the pillar does not contain treasure, but has a magical aura, they wisely decide to leave it alone. Serafine has, by this point, concluded that their mysterious member must be… a deep gnome on stilts!
0:13 – This hypothesis is explained to the party. Zzar is mildly irritated, but says nothing. He is to regret this over the next 47 minutes, and most likely beyond.
0:17 – The party decides to move west, further into the complex, after much discussion.
0:18:20 – The party discovers two mirrors, one clear, one cloudy. The clear one leads to what appears to be an attack within the mirror on Serafine.
0:18:40 – It is soon discovered to be an illusion, a prank. All move past the cloudy mirror.
0:19 – Serafine is abducted by the mirror, which then demands food for her life. Spotting booze in Tordek’s backpack, it sqeuals with glee, and, upon receiving it, releases its prey. It has now developed a taste for Gutbuster brew. Tordek casts light.
0:20 – The party have two choices… to cross a rickety rope bridge over a chasm, or to go north, and see what lies there. They discuss.
0:21 – They decide to go north.
0:23 – Ah… they find they’ve gone back to the crossroads they remember with no small irritation. The party quickly decides to risk the bridge.
0:25 – Dwar rushes ahead, over a rickety rope bridge suspended over a chasm. His amazing dwarvenly balance (Nat 20, folks) allows him to literally run halfway across.
0:25:10 – A sphere of darkness surrounds Dwar, and he is attacked by… something. At the same time, another something attempts to cling to Tordek’s head.
0:25:13 – Dwar is overbalanced by whatever is clinging to his head, and falls off the rope bridge. Luckily for him, the creature breaks his fall, and promptly dies. Dwar takes minor damage, but is stunned. At the same time, Tordek manages to rip the creature from his head and hold it at arm’s length, revealing it to be a Darkmantle.
0:25:16 – spotting some bodies nearby (having fallen out of the sphere of darkness), Dwar decides to investigate. Bah, standard, human equipment. Zzar shoots the deepmantle, and Tordek hurls its unconscious body to the bottom of the chasm, where Zzar, to his displeasure, notes the distinct crack of his bolt.
0:26 – A new light spell is cast by Serafine, and the trio discuss strategy, while Dwar waits patiently below.
0:29 – The party decides that, instead of Dwar climbing, and the trio crossing the bridger, it would be easier for Tordek and Serafine to cross, and Zzar to cut the rope bridge in the middle, creating, in effect, two ladders on either side of the chasm.
0:31 – Zzar, due to a tragic miscalculation in trigonometry and metrics, realises too late that two halves of a 60 foot bridge do not, in fact, make it safe to cling to one end when the chasm is only 20 foot deep. Luckily, his fall is broken by a corpse that was entangled in the bridge’s underside. Tordek and Serafine are called to investigate.
0:32 – All except Serafine gain items from the dead body… a Heavy shield for Tordek, a heavy leather bag which clinks for Zzar, A shortbow and arrows for… Zzar, and a +1 Longsword is left behind. Serafine refuses to have anything to do with the corpse, instead washing her hands in agitation and disgust, using her water ration. Dwar takes a wineskin, and Tordek hands Serafine the corpse’s water bottle, to wash off the soap.
0:34 – The party climb up the bridge/ladder with some trouble, only to be confronted by oil tainted water… this is confirmed by taste (remind me who did that, guys!) The party discusses whether to go forward… or give up.
0:36 – After much discussion, they wade through the oil-tainted water. All are coated in the stuff, although only Tordek cleans his kit (with his bedroll…)
0:38 – The party comes across some more darkness, which Zzar confirms, from experience, to be deeper darkness. Serafine is more convinced than ever that he is a deep gnome on stilts. Zzar also spots, with his keen Drowish vision, a small, beholderlike creature, or creatures, within the dark.
0:38:30 – The party’s fighter and cleric are hit by a literal explosion of ray of frost. Serafine and Zzar are unhamred, and advise caution.
0:38:36 – Serafine fascinates… whatever they are… with her flute music. Amazingly, nothing happens.
0:38:42 – Nothing continues to happen, Serafine continues to play. Dwar discovers the darkness covers a pit.
0:38:45 – Tordek attempts to leap the pit, trips, and falls within. Discussion begins about whether to use him as a stepping stone, until the pit’s dimensions are discovered. 10×10x10.
0:39:20 – Zzar, Dwar, and Serafine all attempt to make the leap (in that order). Zzar stumbles on landing, but is past the pit, revealing a corridor, two branches, and… some sort of face in an alcove… Dwar falls in the pit, and Serafine not only manages to land acrobatically on the other side, she is still playing her flute. The dwarves are helped up, and the party continues.
0:40 – Both Zzar and Serafine attempt to investigate the face, and are battered back by a wall of sound. Discussion ensues.
0:42 – After a little discussion, Tordek has an idea. He waves his wand at it, trying to activate it by sheer force of will. Amazingly, it works, and the party move on. They see a door to their right, but wisely decide not to go within after they note it’s “Cursed by Moradin.” They turn left.
0:46 – After some exploration and discussion, Serafine lights her flute some more. A passage to the right begins to be searched.
0:58 – Nothing is found, and the party decides to go left. They discover a room full of corpses. Dwar runs ahead to investigate, Tordek is more interested in the glowing light in the wall, Zzar and Serafine stay on the outside of the room, Zzar fearing a trap, Serafine disgusted by the bodies.
0:59:23 – It is, as Zzar suspected, a trap. Two young grell attack Tordek and Dwar.
0:59:26 – Tordek is knocked unconscious by one grell. Dwar smashes another to the ground, and Zzar finishes it off.
0:59:29 – Serafine is then paralyzed by the remaining grell, Dwar fails to do significant damage, and Zzar accidentally shoots Serafine, knocking her unconscious while still paralyzed.
0:59:32 – Dwar knocks the second grell to the ground, and Zzar, as before, finishes it. Tordek recovers, and heals himself and Serafine. All are quite heavily injured, and discussion about what to do next ensues. Serafine begins washing her hands again.
1:04:40 – It is decided that they will camp where they are. Serafine is disgusted, but is too weak to disagree. She continues washing her hands, and recommends the “gnome” take second watch. The “gnome” agrees. Tordek takes third watch, Dwar first.
Well, there’s some interesting developements going on now… Zzar has so far, not had to lie about his origins, as despite some wonderful Bardic Lore checks, Serafine came to completely the wrong conclusion regarding his racial identity, although she comes ever closer to retributive death from the rather annoyed Drow… but… he has his orders, and he will allay suspicion for as long as he can. Tordek is aware that something is wrong, but merely watches and waits, for now.
Serafine appears to be descending into madness, albeit slowly, and Dwar grows ever more grim in battle, while maintaining his morality outside combat. It’s also interesting how the conclusions of the players can be sometimes so wrong, and yet so right… I’ve also made some cockups in the timing here (they also took a detour, and actually spent 1:05 in the dungeon level… will fix that when I’ve had some sleep… There…
...but anyways, their interesting decisions… Serafine’s wrong conclusion has affected the party in that they accept Zzar without conflict, and it continues to amaze me that she is considered the leader of the group after such blunders as being kidnapped, reasoning certain things are traps when they are not, developing Lady Macbeth syndrome, deciding two ladders is easier than one bridge… but still, Zzar accepts her, despite her insanity, because she is the only female, and is used to such things, while Tordek and Dwar are… well… not certain… the split down the middle is now heading towards a straight Good/Evil split, although in Serafine’s case, her madness may bring her to evil, not her decisions. It shall be interesting when Zzar reveals his identity. if he does.
But overall, everybody had fun, which was good, the solutions presented, while incredibly unorthodox, are all in character and justified, and the party continues in their irrational prejudice against bardic music, which makes me happy too. This is certainly one of the more interesting groups I’ve run games for or played with, and it shall be a delight to see how the game progresses. I see some veeerrry interesting character choices up ahead…