In talking about last Thursday’s Baranof game (the continuation of our exploration of S2: White Plume Mountain), let me just say a couple things up front:
1) Although the party didn’t explore all that many encounter areas this session, it still felt like a “full session.” Part of this has to do with the Wave encounter, one of the trickier ones in the module.
2) Because of the nature of this semi-climactic encounter, I’ll be discussing quite a bit of the “behind-the-scenes” DM stuff in this session report.
When last we left our heroes Sweet Tito had been killed for the 3rd time, drowned in the loving embrace of a plant-like kelpie. Farnsworth had been pulled from the water by the heroic halfling, Bryan, after Heron’s new elf character, Weaselteats, had blown big holes in the kelpies using the ubiquitous magic missile spell.
That’s where we decided we’d left off anyway. My lack of note-taking from the previous session meant a collective “jogging of the noggins” was necessary to get the party started. I hadn’t even remembered what happened to Blackrazor (answer: nothing. Left un-discussed at the end of the prior session, it was decided that the necromantic blade was still in the halfling’s BAG of holding).
We started the session by making a new character for Randy. Randy was, frankly, a bit tired of carrying a character that continued to die. “What should I make?” We need another cleric, was the group consensus. Randy than proceeded to roll up a fantastic set of stats including a Wisdom of 16, Strength/Dex/Con of 13+, and a Charisma of 6. Thus was “Sexy Kevin” born, replacing Sweet Tito.
It was decided that Sexy Kevin had been with the party “all along” since this latest foray into the mountain, having been hired at the same time as Weasleteats and Sly Junior, the latter of whom was nowhere to be found.
[Vince wasn’t present on this particular Thursday, and it was decided his character had “slipped off” somewhere…taking his much coveted gauntlets of ogre power with him]
Here’s how the week’s session went down:
Farnsworth was pulled, sputtering, from the water and retrieved his sword Blarthislarv from the ledge where he’d dropped it. The party looked at the dimly glowing light (Tito’s dagger) submerged in the depths and decided to let the elf’s remains rest in Davy Jones’ locker.
Well…MOST of the party was on-board with leaving drowned dogs lie…Farnsworth was steamed that they weren’t trying to make some effort to recover Tito’s loot, specifically his magic items and equipment. In the end, no one was going to back the fighter’s move to launch a salvage operation, and Farn wasn’t interested in diving for elf loot solo (especially with one kelpie still at large). Thus settled, the party decided to move on.
The reamining kelpie did NOT make an appearance, and the party was able to explore the chamber, mainly utilyzing the water walking halfling with a borrowed lantern (his own was a little wet from diving for Farnsworth). Tito’s 8’ pole was retrieved from where it bobbed on the water’s surface, and Allster broke it into many small pieces…these he divided between himself and Sexy Kevin, “just in case we need some sticks.” A stairway on the opposite side of the chamber had a set of stairs leading upwards to a dry corridor, while the only other door in the room led to…an empty room. The party searched this “decoy room” for a half dozen turns (finding nothing) before deciding to move onwards and upwards. So far, a fairly uneventful game session.
This would change soon enough.
Up out of the water they found themselves in a stone corridor; an oaken door of familiar style led to the party’s right, but after knocking it open and seeing only another corridor leading into darkness, they decided to stick with the corridor the road they were already on.
The corridor they were on ended in a door of a completely different sort: double, solid metal, flanged to over-lap itself and hinged to open only outward, away from the party members. After diligently checking said doors for possible traps, enchantments, and weirdness, it was pushed open…smoothly opening on well-oiled hinges. Beyond the doors, the corridor extended another 10’ ending in a similar set of vault-like doors.
The first set of doors were checked to make sure they could still be opened from the opposite side? Yes…in fact, they had large handles on the opposite side to ensure they could be pulled open. The party still didn’t trust this…they wedged one door open with a dagger, tied a rope around Borgnine, and had the dwarf investigate the second set of metal doors while the remainder of the party waited outside the first set.
The second pair of doors seemed exact duplicates of the first set in all regards, including…duh-du-du-DUH!...a third set of metal doors beyond them!
Now thoroughly spooked, one door from the second set was again wedged with a dagger beneath the jamb, and after Borgnine had again checked surreptitiously for traps (I’m probably using that term wrong), Gustav and Farnsworth pushed open the third set of doors, revealing…
…a corridor leading into darkness.
Oh, boy. One of the doors from the third set was “spiked open” with a spare dagger, and despite the sheer bulk of the door seemed to be holding relatively steady. The party did a quick ball check and decided they’d man up and continue past the strange (and disconcerting) portals.
Borgnine by now had assumed a “front row” position, checking for traps the entire length of the corridor, followed by Gustav and Farnsworth (swords in hand), followed by Weasleteats and Sexy Kevin (each carrying a long spear…they’d learned a valuable lesson about pole arms from the bugbear patrol). Last came Allster and Bryan…the latter with his bow primed and ready.
With the dwarf’s eyes on the floor, the fighters in front were the first to notice there was something odd about the corridor. At first it appeared the light from their torches seemed to be glimmering from a sheen on the wall, but as they progressed they could see that the sheen seemed to be some sort of pale, semi-opaque material lining the walls and ceiling, eventually becoming the corridor itself: a fleshy, skein-like substance stretched in a semi-circular tunnel, periodically creased and ribbed along its length. Weasle pressed his hand against the wall, finding it soft and pliable, like thin cured leather…and uncomfortably warm to the touch. Remembering that they were inside a semi-active volcano, the party quickly discarded an initial idea to “poke the wall with a knife and see what happens.”
[Allster decided to bless the entire party around this time]
And yet, they ventured on, the corridor widening into a large, dome-shaped chamber. Consulting their notes of Keraptis’s riddle (“beware the beast of the boiling bubble”) they figured they must be close to one of the final two magic weapons…probably the hammer, Whelm!
“Um…do we see a beast anywhere?” They asked. Roll for surprise, says I.
The roll came up a “1” …as usual.