2018-07-07

DF Whiterock Session 11: Dust Mephits and the Ogre-Powered Elevator

Date:

2018-07-06

Weather:

Warm, clear

Player Characters:

Bernard (threethreethree), Human Fighter, 165 points
Durkerle (M.C. Warhammer), Dwarf Cleric, 193 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 201 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 176 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 206 points

Significant NPCs:

Ulrik, Duergar bookkeeper
Bork, Ogre elevator operator
2 Dust Mephits


The group got together at a private table in the corner of the Inn of the Slumbering Drake, to interrogate the Duergar prisoner they had captured in a secret room behind the orcish mines under Castle Whiterock.  Durkerle had the Compel Truth spell, and used it effectively.  The Duergar's name was Ulrik, and he was a bookkeeper and slave trader.  His job was to purchase slaves from the White Talon orcs and send them deep underground to his superior, a Duergar called The Impressario who ran a deep underground arena called the Bleak Theater.  The transport was largely achieved using an elevator, powered by an ogre named Bork, whom Ulrik was fond of.  The ledgers that had been found in Ulrik's room were records of slave transactions, in Undercommon.  When they ran out of questions to ask Ulrik, the group took him to the Temple of Danethar to get his crippled eye magically healed, and left him in the custody of Durkerle's superior there.

A plan came together: feed the ogre and gain his help.  So Durkerle bought a gigantic meat and cheese sandwich, and the party (minus Polly, who was off in the woods somewhere) headed for Castle Whiterock.  They got there without drama, and headed down to the orcish mines.  They decided that, rather than heading straight for Ulrik's secret room and looking for the ogre and the elevator, they would first clear out the rest of the mine level.

Seépravir turned herself and Garreth and Bernard Invisible, and cast Dark Vision on all three of them.  Durkerle, who had some kind of objection to stealth, remained visible with Continual Light on his shield.  The group snuck around the mines, using Durkerle as a landmark since nobody else could see each other.  Eventually, the invisible Seépravir came upon a small flying dust creature of some sort (which they eventually decided was a mephit), hanging out on a rock ledge near the end of a mine tunnel.  She failed to achieve surprise despite being invisible, as the creature heard her coming.  She backed off to rejoin her allies, while it flew forward looking for trouble.

Eventually, the invisible Garreth decided to sling a bullet at the mephit, but missed.  This made him become visible, and the mephit retaliated with its breath weapon, a cone of debris.  Garreth dodged it.  Meanwhile the still invisible Bernard aimed his crossbow.  Realizing Garreth looked pretty big and tough, the mephit attempted to summon another mephit, and succeeded.

Bernard loosed his crossbow bolt at the first mephit, which had no idea it was coming and didn't even get a chance to dodge.  The bolt did a lot of damage, slowing the mephit's flight, but not quite stunning it or dropping it from the air.  The mephit dodged a greatsword swing from Garreth, then cast Blur on itself to make itself harder to hit.  Meanwhile the second mephit unleased its pebble breath on Garreth as well, but he dodged that one too.

Durkerle, who had been (slowly) running toward the battle, heard a familiar elf coming up behind.  Polly had finally caught up to the group, and ran past Durkerle to fire arrows at the mephits.  She missed one, which was perfectly lined up with Garreth and (invisible) Seépravir.  Fortunately for them, the arrow flew harmlessly past both into the wall.

Finally, Polly loaded another arrow and fired it at the mephit that had been severely wounded by Bernard's crossbow bolt.  Slowed by its wounds, it failed to dodge, and the arrow was enough to kill it.  The second mephit immediately winked out of existence.  (Nobody was really sure if it turned invisible or teleported away or was automatically unsummoned when its summoner died, but it was gone.)  There was an attempt to collect the mephit's remains in case they were worth money, but they quickly faded away into ordinary non-magical dust.

Polly climbed up to the ledge where the mephit had been sitting, and found some coins and some cut blue quartz gems and a magic ring shaped like a seahorse.  After collecting all the treasure, she climbed down and the group scouted the rest of the mine passages.  They found nothing of interest -- the surviving White Talon orcs and their slaves appeared to be gone.  The mine work looked fairly shoddy, so everyone was happy to get out of there before it collapsed on them.

After a brief rest, the group went back to Ulrik's room and searched it harder, looking for the ogre and the elevator.  They eventually found a very well hidden secret door, behind a platform with manacles.  Behind the door was a well-built stone passage, leading to a large room.  The room contained a large ogre chained to the wall, plus a large box in the center of the room.  There was a wheel next to the ogre, leading to a chain at the top of the box.  They had found the ogre-powered elevator that Ulrik had told them about.

Durkerle advanced within throwing range of Bork the ogre, and threw it the huge sandwich.  The ogre deftly caught it and started eating.  At that point everyone tried talking to Bork in various languages, to no avail.  He didn't speak Common or Orc or Dwarf or Elf.  (Elf was admittedly a long shot.)  They climbed into the elevator, then tried some gestures, asking the ogre to lower the elevator.  The ogre tried some gestures back, asking them to release it from its chains.  Neither side was willing to give in.

Eventually Garreth starting threatening the ogre with his sling.  That didn't work, so he slung a bullet at the ogre, using only a fraction of his strength to avoid doing too much damage.  That made the ogre mad, and it turned out it wasn't really securely chained to the wall after all.  Bork slipped out of his chains, picked up his great hammer, and charged the elevator.  Garreth hit it in the leg with his greatsword, hard, crippling one leg.  The ogre went down, but kept fighting.  While prone, he swung his huge hammer at Garreth, who parried.  Garreth hit Bork again, in the arm this time, but not hard enough to cripple it.

Seépravir tried a Stun spell, but the ogre easily resisted.  Polly tried a bodkin arrow to the ogre's vitals, which was very effective, wounding Bork grievously, but he was tough enough to keep fighting with one working leg and a huge arrow wound.  Knowing he was in trouble, Bork tried an all-out attack on Garreth, but Garreth parried again.  Finally, Garreth walked up to the defenseless ogre and tried a rapid strike.  The first blow missed, but the second blow was a serious hit, enough to leave Bork unconscious and bleeding to death.

Seépravir asked Durkerle for a Stop Bleeding spell to keep the ogre alive, still dreaming of enlisting his help to work the elevator, but Garreth's blood was up and he shoved his greatsword through Bork's eye and into his brain.  So much for the elevator operator.  There was some discussion of using rope to go down the elevator shaft, but Garreth said they should just take the stairs behind Kaernga's throne instead.  So they did that.

The secret room with the stairs contained a wooden box, which they excitedly opened, before realizing it was empty because they had already looted it.  But Seépravir spotted a potion bottle that they had missed last time, above the secret door.  Not stopping to try to identify it, they climbed down the spiral stairs, into a small room with no exits.  Everyone started looking for a secret door, and they quickly found one.  They looked for traps on it, but didn't see any.  Garreth opened the door, and triggered the trap they hadn't found -- a deadfall of scrap armor.  He managed to dodge it, but it made a lot of noise.

Going through the secret door, the group found a large rectangular room, with lots of dust and dried blood on the floor.  Garreth pulled down an ugly tapestry on the west wall, which triggered another trap -- a gigantic flail swinging at him.  It critically hit, and he was in deep trouble, except he had Luck and it didn't actually critically hit after all, and he got a chance to retreat and dodge.

And that's where we stopped.  Another fight was about to start, but we didn't have time to finish it.  So we'll fine out next time what heard all the noise and came to investigate.

GM's Comments:

Compel Truth sure makes interrogation easier.  Durkerle rolled a critical success on the spell, so no resistance was possible, and they got to ask Ulrik questions until they ran out of ideas.

At this point Seépravir has Invisibility and Dark Vision at 20, which means she can turn the whole group invisible and let them all see perfectly in the dark.  (At the cost of having a huge penalty to casting other spells, from having all those spells on.)  It's amusing trying to coordinate an invisible group, though.  Durkerle's stubborn opposition to being made invisible was probably useful, as it gave them a rallying point.

The dust mephits were very hard to hit (SM-1, great Dodge, Blur) but didn't actually manage to hit with their breath attacks.  I didn't bother translating the percentage chance to summon another mephit into a 3d6 roll; I just rolled d100, which drew amused comments.

Seépravir guessed that the magic ring had to be either Swimming or Water Breathing because it was shaped like a seahorse, but there's no time to cast Analyze Magic in dungeons, and they didn't find any large pools of water to try swimming in or breathing, so they'll have to wait until later to find out.

Food wasn't enough to charm Bork the ogre.  He was surprisingly loyal to Ulrik, and cunning enough to try to fool these little people who presumably hurt Ulrik into coming within range so he could kill them.  But the PCs were smart enough to throw the sandwich from a distance.  And by the time Garreth enraged Bork into attacking them, it was a 5-on-1 fight without surprise.  Bork was tough but not that tough.  Without the ogre, they'll need to figure out another way to work that elevator, if they decide they need it.  But, as Garreth pointed out, they also had some perfectly good stairs down.

The first trap, a deadfall of rusty armor bits, was just a noisy annoyance, which wouldn't have done much damage.  The second one, a gigantic flail rigged to swing at high speed, could have been lethal.  It rolled a 4, a critical hit, so Garreth would have had no defense, except for his Luck.  (Just for fun, I rolled on the critical hit table, and got a 3, triple damage.  And then rolled 15 damage, so it would have been 45 crushing.  That would have been a death check, even on Garreth, with his scale armor and 20 HP.)

While both traps missed, they achieved their secondary objective of making noise to give the nearby denizens hearing rolls to notice intruders.  I would have liked to resolve the battle, but we only had 18 minutes left in the session, and you can't do much of a fight in 18 minutes, and one of our players was already very tired.  So we quit a bit early and will resume in the dungeon next time.

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