Friday, 28 January 2011

Labyrinth Lord session 2 - Never drink tea in a dungeon

The second session saw a slightly different group of PCs returning to the dungeon which some of them had discovered and began exploring in the last session. There were only three players present again (despite my recent attempts to enlarge our player pool!), so I once again allowed them each to control two characters -- one as their 'main' character, and one as a follower or henchman of some kind. We also had a new player this session, not only new to our group, but also very new to RPGs -- it was only the second time she'd ever played an RPG! Consequently the actual adventuring part of the session was a bit shorter than usual, due to the extra time required for character creation and explaining what on earth all the numbers meant! (In retrospect I think it might perhaps have been better to just make a selection of pre-gen characters for the new player to choose from...)

  • Bunbery - magic-user (necromancer).
  • Ismelda - dwarf henchwoman of Bunbery.
  • Slippy - halfling (rat-man).
  • Brock - thief, new-found friend / henchman of Slippy.
  • Libelle - magic-user.
  • Rocco - cleric, follower of the god of the underworld.
Returning to the hole in the ancient oak tree which they'd discovered on a foray into the magical wood, the party descended once more into the underworld. Ismelda tied a rope around one of the oak's roots, allowing them to climb down the shaft which led underground. They decided to leave the rope hanging there for a quick exit. Lighting two torches, and spending some moments bickering about who should go first, last and in the middle of the marching order (the party, as you may note, is slightly on the weak side, lacking any fighters), they set off down the twisting sandy floored tunnel. Bunbery remembered some of the sights and routes they'd taken last time, and suggested a return to the room he had dubbed 'the hall of kings'. On the way there they passed once again through the room with the animated tree root faces. Being somewhat better off this time around, the party accepted the roots' repeated offer of information in exchange for gold. 15gp were handed over, and three insights were given into the contents of the dungeon. The PCs were unsure as to the value of these insights, and in the end an angered Libelle started hitting the root faces with her burning torch, causing them to swiftly disappear, and an ominous rumbling to occur.

Taking stock of their options again after the encounter with the root faces, they decided to forgo the hall of kings in favour of exploring a small winding tunnel which they'd previously overlooked. The walls of the tunnel remained tangled with roots and glowing moss, but the sandy floor soon became muddy underfoot as they came across three deep alcoves. Ismelda, who was leading the way with a torch in hand, probed into each alcove in turn, discovering: an array of nice woollen cloaks (one with a key in the pocket, which she took), a portrait of gnome-like creature, a hat stand with several red felt berets on it. Slippy took one of the berets, and the party continued, somewhat bemused as to what all this homely stuff was doing here.

Next they came to a small round low-roofed chamber with a cobbled floor and a wooden table and chair. On the table was a small brass bell and a plaque reading "PLEASE RING". This added to the party's bewilderment, and provoked a lengthy discussion as to what kind of creature would leave such a sign, and whether evil dungeon monsters might make a ruse of being friendly. They could not come to any kind of agreement of what to do, so finally Slippy rang the bell. Shortly the sound of footsteps came from the passage to the north, and soon a tall faun-like creature emerged, with the head and legs of a ram, and dressed in a smart waistcoat and cape. Introducing himself as Ramius, he invited the PCs to join him for tea, an offer which Slippy gladly accepted, once again leading the group into a course of action they were not all entirely happy with.

Ramius led them through a chamber with a couple of comfy chairs and a fully stocked bookshelf, and into a cosy underground kitchen, where a kettle was boiling on the stove. Bunbery and Ismelda decided to linger in the room with the books, hoping to get some kind of idea as to who this fellow was. They browsed through the books, but couldn't understand a single letter. Bunbery also attempted to detect any magical presence in the books, but found none. Meanwhile Ramius and the others had settled down to a cup of steaming green herbal tea. Seeing that Ramius was drinking the same brew, Slippy drank up straight away, and Brock sipped from his cup. The others, however, declined their host's offer of tea, and once again declined his offer of crackers shortly afterwards.

Ismelda and Bunbery joined the group after their investigation of the bookshelf, and asked Ramius about what language the books were written in. He told them that it was an old forest language (Xilardian, which none of them had ever heard of), and proceeded to sing them a lilting song in said tongue. At this point the drugged tea began to have its effect. Slippy began sliding onto the floor, and Brock had to be rather severely bashed around the head to make him wake up from his stupor. A confrontation began, with Bunbery accusing Ramius of trying to poison them and telling him to begone and leave them in peace. Ramius in turn began to get very agitated, and requested that they leave him in peace, as they were in his kitchen. With the necromancer's increasing threats, the faun creature started backing away, slinking off down another passageway, but returning only moments later with four large ram's skulls floating alongside him.

At Ramius' command, the skulls hurtled towards the party to attack, and a furious battle began in the small cosy kitchen. Libelle had her brains almost bashed out by one of the flying ram skulls, and was only just saved by the healing magic of Rocco. Slippy remained curled up fast asleep under the table, while Brock dived into the shadows in a corner, hoping to get an opportunity to make a stealth attack. Ismelda fought off Ramius, defending her master Bunbery, who was readying a spell. The necromancer, having surmised that the skulls were some kind of undead, tried out his newly acquired spell command undead (the reverse form of turn undead). His surmise was, luckily for the party, correct, and the tide of the battle turned as the skulls suddenly stopped in mid-air and then turned on their master, battering the faun to death.

After their victory over Ramius the party ventured into the last room of his inhabitance, from whence the ram skulls had come. They discovered a large collection of bones and skulls, some obviously human, and a large wooden chest, which Ismelda opened with her crowbar. Inside they were confronted with the grisly sight of a freshly butchered human corpse. Ramius' lifestyle had become somewhat elucidated. They did, however, also discover a pouch in a corner of the chest, containing some coins and a very nice looking gem, which Ismelda pocketed for herself before any of the others had seen it (these Chaotic characters, I don't know! ;).

Deciding to make a day of it for the time being (and our evening in real-time coming to a close), the party retreated to count their spoils in the peace of the local tavern.

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