Sunday, June 26, 2016

Campaign Journal 30 - Slogging the Deeps

The party had just killed 5 trolls in a large underground cavern, and stood bloodied and exhausted over the fire-burnt troll remains...

[Notable landmarks and locations are given names in the descriptions below]

July 17, Wednesday [day 4 underground] (cont.) - Following the big battle in the main cavern, the party explores the side passages out of the cavern (in search of treasure, of course). They find a sixth troll further back in the lair, dispatch it, and do find a significant haul of treasure accumulated over many years. The treasure consists of a little over 2,000 GP worth of mixed coinage (different kinds and different minting, some old and unrecognizable), 9 gems of ~100 GP each, 7 arrows that prove to be magical fire arrows (normal damage +1d8 fire damage), and 2 potions (Animal Friendship and Greater Healing).

The group continues south on the difficult passage to Green Cascades, a long narrow cavern with a stream along one side which is fed by a series of waterfalls coming out of the rock wall. The waterfalls are illuminated by phosphorescent green algae disturbed in the stream as the water cascades down into it.

There is some bickering amongst the party as they eat yet another meal of Melior's magically conjured Goodberries.

July 18, Thursday [day 5] - An uneventful day as the party continues south from Green Cascades along an easier passage. They pass through Temple Rock, a smallish cavern with a raised circular area in the center. On this circular area is a 30 foot diameter ring of a dozen or so cracked and fallen stone pillars. They end the day at Monolith, a very high-ceilinged cavern with a single unadorned 50 foot tall carved stone monolith. There are no runes or markings on the monolith, and it doesn't radiate magic, although it is clearly not a natural feature.

The characters are all feeling the stress of their days underground. Melior is continually haunted by nightmares during the night, with visions of the endless rock closing in all around him, and is unable to get a good rest.

July 19, Friday [day 6] - The party leaves Monolith behind and navigates the relatively easy passage to Tight Squeeze. Tight Squeeze lives up to its description in the notes as a brutal crawl, slither, shimmy and squeeze. Fortunately it only lasts a few hundred yards, although the passage beyond continues to be difficult.

During the day, Niam the rogue periodically hears a voice in his head saying "kill them all."

Near the end of the day, they reach the location called Boneyard. This is a long and wide cavern whose great expanse of floor is covered with bones of all shapes and sizes. There is a clear path that winds through the cavern, and as the party makes their way along the path, they can see what they believe to be a altar on an elevated section of the cavern off to their left. As they move, they begin to hear bones rattling, and skeletons of all types and sizes begin rising out of the bones and attacking them. They party hurries forward, hard-pressed, and timely and effective use of Turn Undead by Badric the cleric holds off the growing horde of skeletons long enough for the party to escape the far side of the cavern.

A ways down the passage, content that nothing is following them, the group rests for the night. During Arian the sorcerer's watch, excruciating pain runs through his left arm, and sees that the blue scaly skin that is part of his draconic heritage has spread from his upper arm all the way down to his wrist (on that arm only). The fingers of his left hand seem a little longer and more claw-like.

July 20, Saturday [day 7] - Leaving the Boneyard area behind, the party heads along the relatively easy passage toward Worm Bore...

Next - Heading south toward Worm Bore...

GM Commentary - This was a tough recap to reconstruct in January 2017 (as the next couple will be as well). Prep notes, known route of travel, our campaign calendar record and the XP recap for the session gives me confidence that I got it right. More or less. I think...

With the characters having been underground for almost a week at this point, I had a lot of fun trying to create a sense of a hint of creeping madness. Voices. Noises. Strange occurrences. The players definitely seemed to be enjoying that aspect of the session, and I got a lot of positive feedback on it. Which is another reason to be vigilant in making sure to not unintentionally turn the game into one big free-form miniatures battle game, and make sure the role-playing part of the game gets proper emphasis.

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