« July 2006 | Main | September 2006 »

August 22, 2006

BLADES Analysis: Insane Dwarf Posse

I started this discussion three weeks ago with individuals and then ran out of town. I’m finally back to working on this, so I’ll start with a non-summary summary and then launch into the discussion.

The BLADES decided that the best place for them to explore on the peninsula would be the untouched Ancients’ city. They sailed to the north-western part of the Druidic protectorate and upon arrival, they discovered an orcish village led by a disease worshiping cult. Naturally the BLADES crushed them as mercifully as possible but the leader, Jim Jones, released a slew of killer worms that took out a number of his own followers including a number of children.

We ran home to reuse, recycle & reduce. We also took time to analyze some of the scouting information that we had collected, including the presence of a domed harbor inhabited by an orcish ship crewed by the dead (who split profits with Jim Jones in order to be released to plunder) and a tofu SPAM generator on the landward side of the city. Every two to four days (sometimes five), a 3’ cube of “meat” appears by the city and a feeding frenzy ensues, culminating in a pair of T. Rexes having the last laugh.

Upon our return, we started to look for the entrance to the city. We found some tracks of a wheelbarrow and a single line of booted hominids. These tracks led to a coastal vessel and vanished in the landward direction. We decided to check out the perimeter of the city. The bases of all towers were negative for Standard Ancients’ doors. The city continued to poop out the SPAM and feed the gargantuan T. Rexes. When they were a safe distance away from the city (not a common occurrence) we searched around for SA or secret doors and found an access panel for the tofu drip pot. Further investigation revealed a 500 gp sized glowing ruby that seems to be the touch switch to turn off/on the SPAM flow. ((We ought to see if the flow/dispensation rate corresponds to sunlight, rain or a different weather/environmental condition – May verify the plant harvesting/pruning disposal theory. Another possibility is the internal usage of food generation or waste extraction by the residents.))

When this failed, we had Fred crawl around on the surface of the dome near the harbor and Serlisse talked to some fish. The fish said there was a hole down below where some walrusmen lived. We geared up for a small force to enter on a scouting mission and as they entered, we were warned to “Watch out for the hot turtle!” Whoops! Dragon turtle ahead! (So we are guessing.)

Upon returning to the cold land trail, Serlisse spoke with several more creatures before finding one that “knew the twisty secret.” Following this lead took us through a secret door to a corridor that led below the walls of the city. Twenty hobgoblins had taken up residence in the area around the exit and they were pummeled into submission or death. They had human slaves attending them, so we turned the tables and took up residence where the hobgoblins had been and imprisoned the hobgoblins in a tool shed/workshop that had remained secured. Some of the humans are willing to work for us if we agree to protect and pay them. One even has potential as a henchman.

We then began to explore the city with information from the humans and hobgoblins. The hobgoblins had encountered a human that was fleeing from the compulsion to get everything in the Artisans’ Mall.

Also, when the hobs crossed the bridge out of their corner of the city, they had to push past an invisible guardian that tried to keep them from leaving. The area they were in had all kinds of comfort items and musical instruments and three shelters that were mostly open like separate stages. Maybe it was a retirement area or even a combination with a nursery (hence the weak guardian that only dissuades departure). It may have just been a concert area.

The hobs found a restaurant/café and ate freely of the more unusual fares (couldn’t get the same food from the food dispensers in the Old Hobs Home. One time when they were eating, they were attacked by a group of “crazy” dwarves that were very tough. When the hobs focused their attacks on the “weakest” link, they still didn’t do enough damage to hir to bring hir down.

Across the bridge, the dwarves live in the large Artisans Mall adjacent to the plaza with the café. There is an elevated walkway that leads into more of the city (landward looping around the lake). There is an upper level doorway into the Mall from the walkway. There is a closed, lower level door to the Mall as well. There is a gateway into another section of the city (to the left - closer to the water) that is closed off. There is a high cliff above the retirement area.

The hobs also tried exploring some of the city across the Koi lake. They encountered undead and household golems that fought back.

As they didn’t have the ability to open Ancients’ Doors, they couldn’t enter the small building by the lake (before the café plaza). We opened the door and found a magical trap across all of the section of floor that we could scan. There is a donut shaped table in the middle of the round room. There are several (six?) tables arranged around the space. On some of the tables, small solid prism shapes with numbers written on them accompany piles of objects. The picture frames near the door are empty. We decided to postpone the investigation until newer threats have been explored.

The café has a recorded voice in the Ancients’ tongue which we couldn’t interpret and menus appeared magically. We copied & translated one completely with prices, but didn’t order food to avoid upsetting any possible guardians with a failure to pay the tab.

We talked to the koi in the lake and found a decent amount of coinage and several rings including a very freaky one that appears to prevent death, but probably draws catastrophes to the wearer. It doesn’t detect as magic and doesn’t heal or keep you from getting hurt – but it will keep you alive even when disemboweled.

We checked out the top of the cliff at our back and found a crab golem that serves The Director and Raybur got stunned and Sputnik got cut badly when Raybur decided to hit it with a Dispel Magic. We decided to postpone further investigations.

We investigated the upper door to the Artisans’ Mall. It is a newer construction and it was greatly trapped. We broke the magic and a note was shoved out of the door telling us to smeg off. We decided that going invisible and skirting around the Mall into the city was more prudent. To come back we could use our once a week bridge to jump the lake and leave our worries behind.

We examined the house nearest our camp (on the other side of the lake) and discovered terribly cute stuffed squirrels on shelves around the room. Raybur stepped in and the squirrels jumped him, drained all of his charisma – didn’t take long – and proceeded to make most of us not want to attack them. Miraculously the magi were able to act and the wolverine sneaking up from the back gave several people a valid target. Fred’s web and much destruction from Lightning javelins won the day. Arthur was a pathetic wreck (the other character to get drained), but we got home and mounted a second attack after we all rested.

The second round was smoother as we were able to back down the stairs and hold the Master Embalmer on the stairs (Good Hit, Shirlard!) for much damage to be dealt. There are still three cases of stuffed birds on the second floor to be recovered.

The non-dwarves seem to mostly agree that something will need to be done about the dwarves. We fear that they are insane and that we will need to subdue them and get them treatment for their insanity before they jump us at an inopportune time.

Costigan and Zephram had some very good ideas. Costigan suggested a large number of Hold Person icons (to target one target per cleric every two segments), Glyphs of paralysis to try to catch some as they approach out chosen battlefield and that Zephram could draw the dwarves out with an illusion of weakened hobgoblins in the chosen battlefield. Zephram observed that if we can draw them out, we can cure them and then find out what happened to make them insane without exposing ourselves. He also suggested that old fashioned net(s), Druidic Rope Trap or Summon Insects, Mage Hold Person or Stinking Cloud in addition to Clerical scrolls and icons would be helpful. He also pointed out that removal of the dwarves from the Mall could be bad for them, so we should be prepared to Implore to try to get Labelas or a Dwarven Deity to Heal them. Sputnik also suggests that Zephram could also screen the casting of the Glyphs by making an illusion of “nothing” on the battlefield while we set up the traps.

Our biggest advantage relative to the hobgoblins is the amount of magic we can bring to bear especially if we set an ambush. Anyone want to weigh in on this before Saturday?

Our first plans are to continue to explore until we can hitch a ride home. We ought to take the preserved birds to Dr. Schnelp or bring him here. When in New Teft we will look into Dragon Turtle harvesting, recruiting a sage, researching the ring and getting supplies for creating a Labelas Shrine in one of the shelters in our area, with scroll or icon making supplies. When we get the shrine set up Sputnik will destroy the evil tweezers of embalming.

I think we should also start preparing to rescue the dwarves once we get a shrine set-up or when we go west for help from the dwarves and elves there.

Are there other plans that we had discussed that I am forgetting?