Here’s how it all went down, folks…including our “expedited” ending. Let me know what you think.
Our Baranof group was reduced to only six players last Thursday as Matthew (aka “Gustav,” aka “Cod Sandwich”) had a family commitment and Heron (aka “Weasleteats”) had a dinner party. Only six intrepid adventurers were thus on-hand to brave the depths of White Plume Mountain, in search of the fabulous dwarven hammer Whelm…the actual weapon the party had been initially hired to procure. The group consisted of:
Farnsworth (my brother, AB) – level 7 fighter with 18 strength, AC -1, and a flaming sword.
Bryan Leftfoot (Matthew #1) – level 7 halfling with a bag of holding carrying the entirety of the party’s loot (including both Blackrazor and Wave).
Alster (Luke) – level 7 cleric, Lawful.
Sexy Kevin (Randy) – level 6 cleric (replacement for Sweet Tito)
Sly Junior (Vince) – level 6 thief, wearing his father’s much coveted gauntlets of ogre power
Dampwick (Josh) – level 6 halfling (replacement for Borgnine the Dwarf)
Before we began the expedition proper, there was the slight matter of Wave to deal with. Although Wave had happily saved Bryan (a ready worshipper of Poseidon), the trident was now in complete control of the Halfling (the character’s Will score being determined by the sum of his Strength and Wisdom, both of which were a whopping “8”). Wave was ready to have Bryan use the party’s wealth to construct a shrine/temple to the Sea King, complete with a coral and ivory statue, 20’ high.
Conveniently, it was discovered that Sexy Kevin was a cleric of Poseidon, and took Wave off the hands of the less-than-worthy Halfling. Having a Strength of 13 and a Wisdom of 16, the cleric was just willful enough to trump the weapon’s ego and retained full command of the item for the rest of his life (see below). With the matter of Wave settled (and Blackrazor still in the bag of holding), the PCs were ready to begin.
The party got off to a “fantastic” start as they were unable to remember which of the three corridors had been left unexplored (they knew they’d been down two already). “We need to go down the left one; we always go left!” “But didn’t we go down the left one first?” “No we went down the center.” “Wait, wasn’t that the way we went last time?”
In the end, they decided to take the left-hand corridor, figuring it was the most likely way they hadn’t discovered.
…and discovered that it was in fact the first corridor they had explored (with the water mostly drained from the dungeon, they encountered the first pit…now just a big swimming pool…along with the holes where they had previously pounded iron pitons for crossing). After more heated discussion, they back-tracked to the initial crossroads and took the as-yet-unexplored right-hand path.
After walking for 20 minutes or so, the party members all began to feel a “burning” sensation in their feet. Looking down they were horrified to discover they were covered in green slime up to their ankles…the creature had already burned through their boots and was now working on their feet!
[this was yet another encounter with less-than-helpful guidance in the encounter description. A huge patch…8 hit dice worth…it remains “undetected” unless actively searched for, until the party has already passed through it and it’s started working on their toes. Should one “roll for surprise?” Make “to hit” rolls? How long does it take for them to realize the creature is on them? How much does it reduce their armor class when they’re bare foot?]
Fortunately (for everyone…including the DM), Luke acted quickly to cast cure disease, wiping out the entire patch (can the thing only attack one player? If it is on multiple players is it now considered multiple creatures? Jeez!). I ruled that cure disease wiped out all slime within 30’ (the range of the spell), conveniently putting to rest all the fuzzy questions surrounding the encounter.
“Don’t we even take damage?” asked Josh.
Sure, I said rolling a six-sided. You each take…six points of damage.
The rest of the players were none-too-happy with Josh.
The next obstacle the party came to was yet another decision; the corridor branched left or continued straight ahead. Fortunately, this was an easy one and citing their “always go left” mantra, the party decide to turn up the new passage.
The passage ended in a door that Farnsworth was happy to kick in. Beyond was a room, against whose far wall stood five golems made from the polished bones of a number of a multitude of creatures.
[there are no “flesh golems” in B/X but there are bone golems of the same (8) hit dice. However, I did make them two-armed, rather than four-armed]
The PCs stood outside the chamber, again heatedly discussing how to proceed. Eventually, Farnsworth decided he would simply “deal with them himself,” and entered the room.
One bone golem stood forward, holding up his hand and commanding the fighter to “halt.” Speaking, it told Farns that if he could guess its riddle it would serve him and the golems would let his party pass. I used a riddle from the recent Green Devil Face that I thought was pretty tricky. Unfortunately, the party guessed it in (roughly) 5 seconds or so. Ugh. Not as tricky as I thought.
Now accompanied by a walking behemoth (which the party, of course, named “Boner”) the party continued on…up a flight of stairs, around a bend and then face-to face with an old fashioned turnstile that, when tested, was found to only allow one-way passage.
“Can Boner rip this thing out of the wall?” He could…and did upon the party’s command. Players were high spirits as they pressed onward, Boner leading the way.
The next door opened up into a vast natural cavern…easily the largest “chamber” the party had yet encountered in White Plume Mountain, they found themselves on a man-made ledge built into the cavern wall. Fifty feet above them glistened a rough and natural cave roof, semi-shrouded in darkness…fifty feet below them was a lake of boiling mud. The slimy mud had a natural phosphorescent sheen that clung to and illuminated the whole of the cavern, and the air was oppressively hot and humid. On the opposite side of the cavern appeared to be a similar ledge to the one on which stood the party, as well as what appeared to be a doorway of egress.
Between the two ledges hung a series of wooden disks…nine round, and slime-slick platforms, each suspended from the ceiling by a massive chain, anchored in the center with an iron staple. Each disk was about four feet in diameter with roughly three to four feet of distance between each. The platforms appeared to be the only way across the lake.
You folks ever see the TV show, “Wipe Out?”