Featuring:Floria, child sorceress.
Columbo the bravest halfling ever.
Yodl Serpenthelm, a hapless dwarf servitor of the Serpenthelm clan.
Sigmund Serpenthelm, justicar of Lawdor.
Etherial, cleric of Christ.
Mern the Blue, an unlucky wizard, inadequately fleet of foot.
Gagner, a mercenary warrior of lusty ways but low intelligence.
Summary:Our brave adventuring party assembles itself outside the city of Yam and proceeds to mount two expeditions into the Eibon Fortress. Numerous warriors are killed, a wizard and a halfling are (further) mutilated by insanely dangerous wolves and a bag of gold with a mouth, respectively, a psychic slug is sent to hell, and some drugs and coins are liberated. In the end, even with the discovery of a magical mace, our heroes remain unsatisfied with the risk-to-reward ratio, and are desirous of finding more and better treasure.
I. Yam is for little girls, OR, Fresh Meat!Mern and Columbo arrive in Yam, a wonderful town that they can't get into so they stay outside in a large camp with all the other low-lifes. There they run into Floria, who Columbo knows from the old days back in Threshold. Mern gets a little jealous of the younger, prettier, more powerful mage, but keeps this to himself. Floria manages to sneak into the town of Yam by pretending she was visiting her family - one of the few benefits of being a 14 year old girl. Once inside she purchases a 1 bedroom with a den in town - she tells us it has a great view, but everyone with an apartment says that, don't they?
Later, Mern notices his old friend Gagner, who he spent time in prison together (apparently magic-users spend a lot of time in prison in the Black Peaks). Gagner is with his friend Etherial and they're invited along on the planned search of the Eibon Fortress. Moments later, Yodl Serpenthelm is seen. He is a servant of the Serpenthelms and was apparently visiting Yam at the time. He demands 300 gp to join the Corsairs, and further demands that the new recruits get that money as well. Columbo-of-the-deep-pockets pays this out. Some additional muscle is hired as well: four toughs-for-hire of the standard sort (ie: Easterners): Shalid, Jong, Marketh and Zuzalalebarsomething-or-other. Mern immediately grabs Zula as his personal hireling (not that it'll do Mern any good) and gives him platemail (that didn't help Zula either).
II. The FortAfter equipping themselves, the Corsairs head to the Eibon Fortress, a massive structure consisting of 210' high, 130' thick walls coated with a "no wall climbing" veneer (quite chic). Apparently the fort was once the abode of a dynasty of evil sorcerors, who 100 years ago were overwhelmed by their evil magical ways, as well as a horde of demons, undead and servitors. The fortress was then abandoned and the dynasty's name was erased from history. Only recently has the fortress attracted scum adventurers seeking loot XP whatever it is they seek.
Four entrances are obvious on the fortress - two massive 20' tall, 30' wide gatehouse doors on the western and eastern wall, as well as two smaller sally ports.
After spending several hours looking for secret doors on the outside, of which none were found, the group decided to enter through the large western gate.
III. Murder: The perfect prefix for murderholes AND murderhobos!Passing through the gate, the Corsairs proceeded along a 130' tunnel. On the ceiling, over 20' above us, could be seen a wonderful example of late 14th century pre-Renaissance murderholes. A 5' panel was missing from the floor of the murderholes and it was decided that someone should climb up and see where it lead. Columbo suicidally volunteered himself, to the great relief of everyone else.
Columbo gingerly threw a rock attached to a rope up into the hole, which happily fell back down through another hole, creating the perfect rope climb. Columbo then proceeded to climb up the rope.
IV. Rope TrickColumbo's eyes, aided by his glowing sword, made out a series of regular indentations in the walls which appeared to be blackened by old fires, suggesting they were used to heat sand in the fortress's defense: wow the DM is such a show-off truly a well built castle. Columbo could also make out four shafts that led down off the murderhole. Looking down the shafts, Columbo saw that they led into a room 10' below him.
Meanwhile the rest of the Corsairs took a peek into the courtyard at the end of the tunnel, where they could see a large, 30' tall, 20' wide double gate that was closed. Gaps could also be seen that lead into darkness (alas, Mern's near-constant fear meant that he doesn't recall where these gaps were - in the wall, in the gate, in the floor, in his head…?)
Quickly deciding that the courtyard was scary, the Corsairs all climbed the rope to head onto the murderhole grate. Columbo then proceeded down one of the shafts.
V. ShaftedColumbo's sharp eyes make out a room filled with rotting sacks. He discerned that the room was most likely an old lounge, perhaps used by the guards while they waited to man the murderholes. He also spied a set of stairs leading down into darkness. The rest of the Corsairs foolishly decided to come into the room with him. While Columbo and Mern debate the finer points of dungeoneering ("we should search this room for treasure and secret doors now!" "No, search later dummy!"), brave, brave Yodl went towards the stairs….
And it was sometime around this point that all hell broke lose…
Yodl said something along the lines of, "squirk!", as three snow white mastiff-like-hell-demon dogs gutted and half-decapitated him as they proceeded to run up the stairs!
A furious melee ensues! Columbo chops one dog and gets hit himself. Gagner is struck but carries on in spite of his wounds and almost certain death. Floria, sensing disaster, casts sleep, but it fails to affect the dogs. Mern, shouting "RUN AWAY" , resulting in general dissent, throws a dagger rather than wisely heading up the ladder. He hits a dog and probably just made it a little annoyed.
The following round our loyal hirelings strike twice! Mern, hoping for a little luck, tries his own sleep, which also fails on the dogs (M-U mental note: there is NO saving throws for sleep. Stupid Mern).
The dogs then proceed to kill Shalid. Floria makes herself scarce by turning invisible. Mern is next in their sights, and the dogs manage to bite Mern in the throat, causing him to fall over, throat crushed, unable to breathe.
Columbo is struck again in the following round, and the party fails to accomplish much on their own, but Floria, in her great kindness, drags Mern to a semblance of safety and puts pressure on his wound so he doesn't die.
The next round sees Columbo and Etherial working together and slaying one of the dogs, but Columbo is again hit.
Columbo follows up by finishing off another dog that had been on the receiving end of the hirelings. The rest of the party misses, but the final dog bites deep into Gagner's throat, killing him while simultaneously bursting an artery, which commences to spray the entire room and its inhabitants with blood, including Floria, whose invisibility temporarily cuts out with each new bloodspray!
It is at this point that Mern christians this room, "Gagner's Bloody End".
The last living dog then tops itself by killing Zulu and being utterly missed by the remaining survivors, and following that up by killing Jong with another artery bite. Columbo and Etherial manage to hit it, but it remains standing.
These attacks appears to make the beast remember Mern, who is still barely alive on the ground, his mangled throat being held together with pressure from Floria's hands. Believing this was not enough of a hint to stay out of the fortress, the demon-beast runs up to Mern (getting a hit from behind from Columbo in the process) and bites Mern. IN. THE. HEAD. Mern thus loses his eye. Floria, with the beast literally eye to eye, decides to expend a charge from her lightning wand to finish off the creature, which she does.
Mern is then tended to by the party. He discovers he also cannot move his arm, likely as a result of nerve damage from the throat bite he took. The remaining Corsairs then head back to the camp outside of Yam.
VI. Sigmund - So NOW you show up…Once back in camp, the Corsairs rest up from the massacre. Sigmund arrives at this time and his presence has never been more gladly noted. Mern manages to recover to a one eyed, one armed flightless blue pathetic person. The Corsairs then proceed to hire five henchmen and Mern pays to clad them with platemail, to the consternation of the other Corsairs who prefer to leave their mercenaries as easy to kill as possible.
VII. Moths and mercenariesHeading back to the fortress, the party passes again through the murder hole into the room splattered with Gagner blood and down the stairs where the demon-dogs came from. There they find the dog lair, which contained 2500 sp, a measly sum compared to the cost of recovering it.
Passing through the passageway, they come into a room containing cushions and a lot of dust, as well as 4 massive hawk moths which were very interested in Columbo's glowing sword and Mern's glowing staff. Etherial, placing curiosity before safety, proceeded to light a torch. The moths immediately drew near the torch, became ignited by the flames, AND KEPT FLYING AROUND! Not only that, they started dripping flame! At Mern's exclaimed, "Run away!", everybody except Columbo and Sigmund ran out of the room. Columbo and Sigmund, however, are able to quickly vanquish the moths.
In the adjoining room could be found a bunch of shelves and a rusted iron chest. Sigmund, carefully checking the chest, and kindly telling the magic-users to leave the room (see last adventure for the why of this) asks one of the mercenaries to open it. The mercenary proceeds to explain the finer points of retainership, which is lost on Sigmund, who demands the mercenary open the chest if he wants to see the following morning. The mercenary gave the chest a kick, which proves the chest to be open and trapless. Inside the chest is found many bricks of opium or hashish, which the hireling kindly identified for us. Sigmund places this in his bag.
VIII. You flea-bitten-good-for-nuthin so-and-so'sReturning to the room of Gagner blood, the Corsairs proceed down a hallway, which leads through several archways and empty rooms until a room filled with fleas is found - 10, dog sized fleas, to be exact. Thankfully, Floria casts a quick sleep which puts them all out, and the party proceeds to kill them all. Alas, the room they guarded was empty.
IX. Grabby grabby grabby!Suddenly, the room is filled with a "lot" of pale, naked humanoid creatures, with bulging white eyes and stringy hair (who cloned Alice Cooper?). Mern yelled "Run away!" but no one paid him any heed as always.
These Cooper-alikes proceed to get slaughted quite handidly by the Corsairs, but not before two manage to bypass the frontline fighters and grab both of Mern's arms, and Etherial soon suffers the same fate! Thankfully, Floria's quick wits are matched by her quick spell, haste, which she casts upon the entire party. Columbo, Sigmund and various and sundry henchmen are thusly able to kill all the grabby little bastards before they can drag anyone off.
X. "Ándele! Ándele! Arriba! Arriba!"Making full use of their new-found haste, the party quickly passes into the room the Coopers came from, a sour-smelling room filled with feces and gnawed bones. There they find a bunch of giant flea eggs. Sigmund wisely kills them all before they can suck our faces off.
The party rapidly proceeded up a set of stairs, which revealed a series of rooms with square pillars in them.
Columbo threw a rock into the nearest room and struck something metallic. Peering inside, the Corsairs uncover a horde filled with copper coins - 3600 of them.
XI. WTF kinds of monsters are these, OR, I never thought I'd miss orcs!At about the time Columbo was pulling a Scrooge McDuck in the copper pieces, a slithering slimy like sound could be heard as something squerched and slurped its way towards us. Suddenly each of us was struck by a pounding headache, and a cylindrical leech-like thing the size of a $%^&ing horse (!!!) squilched its way into view. Did I mention it had writhing tentacles for a face? Well, it did.
The henchmen immediately start bleeding from their noses as the leech thing started fiddling with their brains magically. Mern, never the most stable of characters, felt suddenly compelled to charge up and strike the leech, missing once and hitting once (2 attacks per round FTW, thanks haste!). Meanwhile, a henchman starts pooping on the floor.
No, I'm not making that up.
Columbo's henchmen then proceeds to attack Columbo, possibly because Columbo also starts pooping on the floor at this time.
Sigmund saves the day, however, by running up and striking the beast twice, killing it on his second blow. The mental controls having stopped, the Corsairs bashfully clean themselves up. Sigmund proceeds to find the creature's lair in the next room, which consists of a bunch of mucous covered cocoons suspended 8' up on the ceiling.
Sigmund cuts the cocoons open, resulting in a bunch of mucuous falling all over the floor, as well as 1900 sp, 1200 cp, 130 pp and a magical mace held in the hand of some skeletal remains. The mace is claimed by Etherial (actually, Sigmund begrudgingly handed it over to him after some debate).
The Corsairs wisely decide to return to Yam to get their laundry done resupply.
XII. Greed is good?As Columbo climbs down the rope into tunnel under the murder holes, he sees a small purse that was somehow missed on our 3 trips through the tunnel. Opening it up, he spies gold pieces inside it. He decided to reach inside - and the purse decided to turn into a monster with needlelike teeth that clamp onto hands!
Not only that, the purse decides to start chewing up Columbo's arm too, dealing grevious wounds (and a hell of a lot of damage too)! Columbo decides to punch the purse, which results in him punching his own hand. Oops.
Sigmund rushes over and, using his mighty Lawdor-inspired strength, he pulled the purse off of Columbo…and the purse then proceeds to attack Sigmund! Mern, sensing an opportunity to do something, casts sleep on the purse, which works! Sigmund then stabs the damn thing and kills it. Columbo's arm turns out to be terribly chewed up by the foul creature.
The Corsairs proceed to retire back at the camp outside of Yam, filled with the nightmares inspired by the Eibon Fortress.
Total Losses/LootSlain: Yotl Serpenthelm, Gagner, and the hirelings Shalid, Zuluzalabar, Jong, were all killed by demon dogs.
Bricks of opium or hashish, worth 600 gp.
A total of 4800 cp, 5700 sp, and 130 pp.
A mace +2 claimed by Etherial.
This line is important for posterity: All PCs received 187 xp and about 200 gp. The retainers received very little XP, but they won't work for us again so that's ok.