This session took place on 28/July/2023, and the PCs adventured for 2 days.
Player Characters Present
Godleve (Level 5 Cleric of Machodor, S)
Giuseppe (Level 5 Paladin from Rome, Brovenloft, E)
Sever (Level 5 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Sheamus (Level 4 Irish Fighter from Dublin, Brovenloft, E)
Peachy Kean (Level 1, Druid, E)
Paro the Effluvious (Level 1/1 Dwarf Fighter/Thief, E,E)
The whittling knife pickup from the Fire Giants last session turned out to be an Intelligent 2hs that sounds like Sean Connery. Sever was pretty happy with this find as you can imagine.
|I rolled 100 on this table (DMG p166)|
In the steaming cavern 600 feet below the glaciered cyclopean city at the centre of the extinct volcano, things were a little different to last time. The giant worms, previously content to sit in their holes and consume the glowing fungus when it dropped from the ceiling, had transformed; now being both shorter and narrower, but still huge, they could be seen actively patrolling the areas around the 5 holes, each of which, the party knew, lead somewhere below.
Previously they had established that two of the holes, after passing through spiralling tunnels of porous black rock, joined up with an ancient lava tube below. This tube, 300 feet wide and 100 feet high, appeared to lead directly to the active volcano and lair of their quarry; Lord Inferno, the red dragon. Now, with the cave worms active, the PCs could could choose from any of the holes, so long as they were careful to avoid the worms themselves. They decided to take the opportunity to explore each of the holes they had not yet explored. All told this exploration expended most of a day, and, what they found was that all the holes came out in the lava tunnel below at various points; some closer, and some further, than the others they had explored previously. They chose to use the western hole, which they now knew joined the lava tube further north than any of the others (and past the location blocked by a Firenewt fort).
Hours later they emerged and then retraced their path along the lava tube, as far the lair of the Fire Giants they defeated last session. They did not check in on the lair, but kept advancing until they reached another Firenewt fort, about a mile up the lava tunnel. Here they explored the walls of the tunnel; looking for the secret wall that the Lava People, who they encountered last week, said would be there. Between Paro and Sever (his new sword detected such things) they easily found and opened a hidden door. It led to a short corridor with another movable wall at its end. Beyond this they were no longer in a natural cave, but halls of cleanly finished cut stone; of dwarf make according to Paro.
The entry was a small 20' by 20' room, and immediately there were some choices to make, as there were exits north, east, and south. The south was a narrow tunnel, too small to accommodate the Rocket Cycle; but, with a bit of man (and dwarf) handling, they could take it either north; in which a corridor stretched out beyond the limits of their light; or east, which immediately became a stair that went down, one level, and then also continued beyond the range of the light.
They chose north and soon found a short passage branching off to the east which lead into a 30 by 30 foot room. Leaving Convess the Pegasus and the Rocket Cycle in the corridor, they moved in to investigate the room. Sheamus wanted to "take the keys" so no one could steal the rocket cycle, but I pointed out that the style of technology just required pushing the "go button", there were no keys. However, since Sheamus had been learning all about the repair and maintenance of the vehicle in his down time, I allowed that he could disable the start mechanism - this would prove to be important later.
As soon as they all piled into the room they noticed odd vertical rails in the corners, just in time for a door to slide down and shut them in as the whole room to descended one level! Paro made a call here that this was nothing to be alarmed at, but a standard feature of dwarf mining operations. It's always amusing for a DM when players make such calls, as Godleve's player has done this several times, and later been proved spookily accurate.
After some experimentation, eventually the lift room stopped moving 4 floors down. There was an obvious exit corridor here, that lead into a open cut quarry. Examination showed it to be a played out Mithril mine. At the far end of the quarry was a ladder bolted to the wall which went up 40' to another level.
Sever shimmied up the ladder, and this is where the fun began. At the top of the ladder was a large asymmetrical area about 60' square, another level of the played out mine. Spread out through the room were 4 (!) Rust Monsters, and for once Sever's luck failed him and they surprised him for one segment. At this point I needed to work out exactly where the creatures were, so I used 2d6 to plot them across a 6 by 6 Grid of 10' squares on the map. The result was that one was right on top of Sever, another was within charging range in the surprise segment, and the other two were not but they charged anyway.
I considered that his armour (ancient field plate won in Castle Von Necro all the way back in Machodor #1) was a more likely target than his new intelligent sword; but, if and when the armour was destroyed, the sword would be next! He was in big trouble, but managed to escape the surprise segment with his skin, and sword, intact; but alas the priceless armour was no more. Sever was justly displeased at this turn of events, but retained the presence of mind to remove his new sword and toss it down to Sheamus, yelling "Rust Monsters!" as he did. The Irish fighter began removing his armour as fast as possible - which I ruled would take 3 rounds in an emergency such as this (is this in Unearthed Arcana?).
Sever then went WWF on the nearest Rust Monster, while the others moved to help out. Peachy, a druid with no metal items to speak of, suddenly seemed like the perfect opponent for these creatures and he scampered up the ladder first; followed by Giuseppe, who was looking to use his bow and keep his armour (and Dragonslayer sword!) intact; and then Paro and Godleve. Seriously, who throws Rust Monsters at a party that worked for weeks to secure a weapon tailored to defeat their sworn foe? (That's rhetorical, and the beauty of Appendix A)
Next round the party won initiative and Sever made the most of the freedom of movement being unarmoured granted him; a base 100% chance of success on the grappling attempt. Though the Rust Monster was faster, it couldn't evade and the result on the Grappling table was exactly enough to stun the beast. Peachy discovered that his club was not as useful against the Rust Monster's solid hide as he would have liked. Giuseppe reassessed the situation and ran for the far end of the room, to give himself room to fire his bow; but, unfortunately for him, as far as the Rust Monsters were concerned second breakfast just ran by. However, having already charged, they were only able to close the distance in the remainder of the round. Next round all three would be on him like white on rice.
The party won initiative again and Sever hurled the stunned Rust Monster over the edge of the nearby pit, to a 40' drop; missing a still stripping Sheamus on the way down. Giuseppe thought again about using his bow against the 3 Rust Monsters coming his way, and went to escape up the ladder behind him. This gave the monsters 6 attacks at his back and I was dumbfound to find all 6 missed, his armour (and sword) lived to fight another day.
|Not as smart as Sever|
Another round or so passed with another Rust Monster getting the angry Sever treatment, which was so successful the others joined in. Only Godleve paid the price of losing his armour to rust in the process. Sever heaved another stunned Rust Monster over the side and the others were pounded into oblivion once the huge Sheamus joined in - having finally shed his armour the round before.
They cleaned themselves up and bagged some Rust Monster guts, the only thing they found in the mine that could possibly qualify as treasure.
The decision of which direction to go next was made for them when they heard the sound of a panicked whinny from the north, behind the door on the platform Giuseppe had climbed. Had random monsters happened upon the Pegasus and the Rocket Cycle!? (Yes, they had)
They raced after the sounds and found the dwarf hewn corridor spilled out into a natural cavern of immense proportions. Ahead, the stone footing narrowed to a bridge like section that stretched beyond the light over an abyss below. Just before this, where the floor extended out in a triangle shape, like a landing for the bridge; was Convess, hovering over a group of short, ugly creatures that were screaming up at the Pegasus "Nork!". There were over 40 of the monsters, but they had not yet noticed the party approaching from behind them (with 2 segments of surprise). Later I realised, thanks to Paro's player, that I was wrong to give the players double melee attacks during this period. Lucky break for them.
|DMG page 62|
With half the party practically naked they still charged in and wreaked havoc; but with their melee weapons alone there was only so much damage they could inflict. Paro threw two lit flasks of oil as he approached, at a range where he couldn't miss given the number and concentration of the monsters; this caused equal amounts of damage and confusion in the enemy.
So, surprise was accounted for with the party inflicting just under 20 percent casualties on the enemy; not quite enough to provoke a morale check, yet.
The next round was a master class of AD&D shield use, particularly those for whom it was their only form of protection. Lined up as they were, only 3 attackers could reach each party member, and damage was exchanged on both sides; the PCs were holding together for now. Sever called Convess down to help in the battle.
|This rule, from PHB p104/105 is not mentioned at all in the DMG|
Finally, with some of the party trying to retreat back into the corridor, the enemy broke and ran off to the south east, screaming "Nork!" as they ran. The PCs were not interested in pursuing them.
By following Paro's very accurate dwarf direction sense, they managed to find their way back to the Rocket Cycle by an easier route, and, by being lucky on another hastily made up d12 table, they were able to back it out and return home without further incident.
|Didn't have time to finished this but I rolled a 2|
Treasure and XP
Trollopulous Adjusted Session 33 (Machodor #14)
4 Rust Monsters 1210 XP
17 Nork-ers 421 XP
Bag of Rust Monster parts (Professor Dorol has left a representative in Schloss Ragnar, he gives you 105gp for the parts)
Monsters Total: 1631 XP
Treasure Total: 105
XP & GP Assignment Weighted by Level Shares & any bonuses
Giuseppe (Level 5 ) 272 XP & 25 GP
Godleve (Level 5 ) 272 XP & 25 GP
Sheamus (Level 4 ) 272 XP & 20 GP
Peachy Kean (Level 1) 272 XP & 5 GP
Sever (Level 5 ) 272 XP & 25 GP
Paro (Level 1) 272 XP & 5 GP