Thursday night, in continuation of last week's game, my brother ("Shmutzy the Sorcerer") led his band of merry men (and women) back to Castle Q...with a WAGON (Expert set page X9, description X10) pulled by four draft horses and the idea they were going to make a REAL dent in the treasure pool.
Going up to the cave entrance they found the door to the stronghold had been replaced with a shiny new one...heavy oak and brass bound.
Hmm, that's interesting, thought AB. But that's why we brought the dwarf along.
Grouch is unable to batter the thing down. "It appears to be barred and/or locked." Grouch still has his magic battle axe...you want to chop it down?
Nah, then they'll hear us coming. Wait can we set fire to it? We have oil...let's do that.
Yes, setting fire to the front door is a much more subtle way to make an entrance.
We both laugh at the thought of "smoking 'em out." Though, ABles still hasn't bothered to think about who "them" could possibly be. I know. Check out this false rumor made true:
(F) Zelligar and Rogahn have actually returned to their stronghold, and woe be to any unwelcome visitors!
I had decided over the course of the intervening week that the party had done enough damage in the stronghold on consecutive visits that Z and R had decided it was time to organize a defense against the invaders, who were sure to return.
Using his new and improved map Shmutzy and Co. made their way down the long corridor, ignoring the side alcoves, including the ones with secret doors (defensively places) already discovered by the party in prior expeditions.
We don't want to go that way this time...we're heading straight back to the treasure pool.
They found the end of the corridor blocked by sticky webs...as if from a giant spider. Hmm...
While still trying to decide what to do, a voice boomed out from beyond the webbing, "Who dares invade the stronghold of Zelligar and Rogahn? What business have you here besides trespass and base thievery?"
AB considered the question. Why the hell are we here anyway? We're basically just knocking over some dudes' house huh? Um, yeah. I guess he's got us dead to rights.
As Grouch approached the webs to try to cut through them, a trio of magic missiles struck him. At the same time a roar from behind signaled an attack from several ogres led by an enormous knight in shining armor!
All hell breaks loose.
Selma the witch uses her wand to polymorph an ogre into a scurrying rat before being felled by a second one. Carey and Grouch charge back to help out and Shmutzy launches a fireball from his own wand at the webs setting them on fire and illuminating the form of a cloaked and hooded figure beyond. Carey the halfling then charges the wizard who launches several spells (charm person, polymorph other), all of which are saved spectacularly. Shmutzy tosses a fireball into the ogres but Rogahn comes through nearly unscathed thanks to a ring of fire resistance...Grouch, on the other hand takes quite a blast and Rogahn caves in his his rib cage and several vital organs with a huge blow of his sword. The dour dwarf dies scowling.
Carey nearly manages to finish off Zelligar with a dagger blow. In the next round Z gains initiative and (panicking) shouts a word of magic and disappears. Damn, says AB, he can teleport too? Carey runs back to help Lady Troya with the remaining ogre. Rogahn pushes forward and hacks Shmutzy for minimal damage. The slash reduces the magic-user to half his hit points. Shmutzy casts mirror image and surrounds himself with a few friends.
Then: elation and disaster. Carey and Lady Troya take down the final ogre and a masterful polymorph other spell from Shmutzy the Sorcerer transforms Roghan into a slug. However, a FWOOOOSH-kaboom! signals the beginning of the end as the INVISIBLE Zelligar sends a fireball of his own hurtling down the hallway into the melee.
Oh...he didn't teleport after all...was Shmutzy's last thought before perishing, a flaming scarecrow of cooking meat and blackened bone.
Carey charges back up the hallway, dagger poised to strike. Zelligar takes no chances with the indomitable halfling and seals the corridor with a wall of ice. The halfling curses, gouging at the barrier in frustration.
[I should note Zelligar was an 8th level magic-user...he used every spell in his repertoire except wizard lock and sleep. Rogahn I wrote up as a 10th level fighter with 18 strength due in part to his weight training regime (see room XXXVII)...not that it helped against a fourth level spell]
Carey and Troya decided to take out their frustration on something that bleeds: Rogahn the slug. Rather than retreat from the dungeon they continued to hack and hew at the slug (in B/X, a polymorphed individual retains its original hit points). This continued for several rounds...until a troll appeared, again through the same defensive secret doors (directed by Zelligar, of course). Carey decided to engage the huge humanoid...who achieved initiative, grabbed the halfling, and ripped a chunk of skull and brain from his head with a vicious bite (the troll hit the little guy twice, reducing him to -2 hit points). The cleric, deciding to leave the troll to its meal, chose to flee rather than continue the fight.
Later AB and I agree that after the loss of both her ex-fiancee and her husband...as well as all her adventuring companions...the Lady Troya decided to hie herself to a nunnery.
Full post-game analysis to follow.
[by the way...the 2nd half of the Seahawks game just started and the 'Hawks picked off a pass for a TD. Score 21-6 over the 49ers. Hope it holds...Go Seahawks!]