2019-06-25

DF Whiterock Session 54: Slaying the Stalactite

Date:

2019-06-21


Weather:

Cool, partly cloudy


Player Characters:

Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 312 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 385 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 380 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 368 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 401 points

Significant NPCs:

3 Drow Warriors
4 Phase Spiders
Drow Wizard
Shield Golem
Dire Bat Familiar


The PCs started in the entry room of the giant stalactite within the Immense Cavern, having just won a battle against a gargoyle archer, a couple of human crossbowmen, and several large to humongous spiders.  All of the opponents were dead, except Azzik the gargoyle archer, who was unconscious.  Garreth asked if anyone wanted to spare the gargoyle.  Nobody did, so Garreth cut his head off.

The two humongous spiders were wearing saddles.  The archer had a nice composite bow, arrows, leather armor, a potion, some coins, and some stinky cheese.  (Zaber threw the cheese out the portcullis.)  The crossbowmen had pistol crossbows, bolts, mail, rapiers, bucklers, long knives, and hats.  One had a potion and the other had a pouch full of dust.

Zaber removed a hat from one of the crossbowmen, and the corpse changed from an ugly human to a drow male.  He then put on the hat, and looked like that ugly human.  The other hat had the same effect on Polly, but she removed it because she didn't want to look like an ugly human male.

Zaber flew up to a balcony and listened to the door behind it, and heard faint singing.  He managed to avoid opening the door and investigating further until everyone was rested and Seépravir had cast Dark Vision on Zaber and Invisibility on Polly.  Then he snuck in (using the Ring of Invisibility) and snuck down a flight of stairs, with Polly close behind covering him with her bow.  The stairs led to a large room, which contained two female drow and a huge spider.  One of the drow was singing the song, and the other was playing with the spider.

Polly and Zaber went back up the steps to rejoin the others, and then held a brief discussion on whether to try to use the hats to disguise themselves and talk to the drow, or just kill them.  Seépravir's argument of "they're drow, just kill them" prevailed.  Seépravir turned Elias Invisible too to keep the light from his Flaming flail from giving them away.  (She rolled badly and had to use Luck to avoid a critical failure.)  Then she made Garreth Invisible for completeness.

Zaber snuck up into backstabbing position, and wasn't noticed.  Polly snuck up into back-shooting position and wasn't noticed either.  Then Garreth snuck up, but the spider heard him and reared up.  At that point Zaber stepped up and stabbed one of the drow in the back of the skull, knocking her unconscious.  Polly shot the other drow in the eye, rolled massive damage, and got a one-shot kill.  She fired her other arrow at the spider, wounding it badly enough to slow it.  Garreth fast-drew his katana and hit the spider twice, hurting it badly but not knocking it out.  All three PCs who attacked became visible.

And then the spider disappeared.

Elias, still on the stairs, ran toward where the battle had just been.  Seépravir yelled out advice for Polly.  Zaber listened for anything, but heard nothing.  Polly fired two arrows where the spider had just been, but they sailed past that area and hit the wall.  Garreth spun around and waited for an enemy to appear.  And the spider did just that, reappearing behind Garreth and biting him.  Fortunately for Garreth, his heavy armor completely stopped the spider's teeth.  Garreth tried a Rapid Strike double Wild Swing at the spider behind him, but missed both times.

Two more spiders appeared.  One attacked Zaber, but he saw it coming and did a Judo parry.  The other tried to run up and bite Garreth's face, but missed.

Elias kept running Invisibly toward the fight, and Seépravir shouted advice to Garreth.  Zaber grappled a spider.  Polly shot the spider that Zaber had grappled, from behind.  It got to dodge anyway because it had eyes on the back of its head, but it failed to dodge and was slowed by the arrow wound.  Polly put a second arrow into the spider, but didn't knock it out.  Garreth drunkenly flew over another spider, deceptively rapid striking it from above, but somehow it dodged both attacks.

The original spider, that had bit Garreth in the back and gotten nothing but a mouthful of armor for its troubles, decided to go after a softer target, Zaber.  He dodged its bite.  The one that Zaber was grappling also tried to bite him, but missed because of the -4 DX penalty for being grappled.  The one under Garreth tried biting his face, but missed by 1, hitting the torso instead.  Garreth parried critically, causing the spider to fumble, trip, and fall down.  Finally, a fourth spider appeared out of the ether behind Zaber, and bit him from behind.  It rolled poor damage, though, causing only 2 HP of injury after DR, plus some poison.  Zaber made his HT check and the poison didn't affect him.

Elias finally reached the fight, and Invisibly flailed a spider.  It didn't hear him coming and didn't get a defense roll.  He pounded it hard enough to cause a major wound, and the spider failed its knockdown and stun check, as Elias appeared.  Seépravir also Invisibly flew closer to the battle, but didn't attack.  Zaber, with more spiders next to him than he liked, released the grappled spider and did an All-Out Defense (Dodge), and flew straight up away from the spiders.  Polly fired two more arrows at a spider; it dodged one.  Garreth spun and rapidly struck the badly wounded spider behind him, killing it.  The dead spider disappeared into the ether.  Then he hit the prone spider in front of Elias.  It rolled a 17 on its stun check, knocking it unconscious.

The spider that could no longer reach Zaber tried to eat Polly, and rolled a critical hit.  She used Luck to make it reroll, turning it into a regular hit, which she acrobatically dodged.  A spider tried to bite Elias, but he dodged it.  Seépravir cast Death Vision on a spider, causing it to see a vision of Elias smashing its head in with a flail, and stunning it.  Elias tried a Death From Above move and attack on a spider, but missed.  Polly fast-drew her rapier with her right hand while keeping her bow in her left, then used Rapid Strike to cut a spider twice.  The first was a critical hit to the skull, which stunned the spider.  The second killed it.  Then she dropped her rapier and used her Extra Attack to shoot another spider, wounding and stunning it.

Garreth attacked one of the stunned spiders multiple times, killing it.  Everyone swarmed the last stunned spider and finished it off.  All of the dead spiders disappeared, leaving no trace.  But the two drow had rapiers, black mail, potions, a wand, an amulet, and a vial of poison.

While Seépravir rested, Zaber checked out the room.  It had arrow slits along the outer wall, showing a view of other stalactites near the top of the Immense Cavern, none of them very interesting.  Garreth took both stripped drow corpses upstairs and threw them out the portcullis.  Polly flew down to the wheelbarrow and replaced 4 arrows.  Seépravir cast Seek Magic to figure out which way to go, and found magic to the southeast.

Zaber spotted an iron door on the east wall, and opened it.  It led into a room, which contained bas-relief spiderweb patterns and various humans and demi-humans stuck in the web.  The room also had a door to the southwest, and a ladder leading down.  Zaber listened at the door, heard nothing, and opened the door.  This revealed another empty room, curving around to the south, with another iron door.  Zaber went to listen to that one, and a trap (that he failed to detect) went off.  Blindingly bright red light shot out the door, and set Zaber on fire.  He dodged some of the damage, but still took 10, 8 after DR, and was temporarily blinded by the light.  The Hat of Disguise survived the fire, but sadly the twine that Polly used to keep track of where Zaber was when he was Invisible did not.  Zaber called for a cleric, then took off the Ring of Invisibility so the cleric could find him.  Elias cast Stop Bleeding and rolled a critical success, healing the burn fully and also restoring Zaber's vision.

Elias, with Resist Fire on, decided to play with the door.  Everyone else got out of the area.  Then Elias touched the door, but this time, it was bright green light instead of bright red light.  Elias was temporarily blinded, and had to Resist HT versus poison.  Fortunately, he made his roll.  Unfortunately, even having resisted, he was still down 1 HT until he could get that fixed at the temple.  Polly and Garreth, who had backed up but not gotten completely out of line of sight of the door, were also blinded.

After a few minutes, the blinded PCs were able to see spots again, then their vision gradually got better.  Zaber went to look at the trap, being careful not to touch it.  He saw a string in the latch, which he thought he could cut to disarm the trap.  As Garreth backed away, Zaber disarmed the trap.  It led to stairs up, back to the portcullis room.  After checking the stairs, Zaber came back down, and everyone walked over to the ladder.

Seépravir cast Invisibility on everyone (except Zaber who put on the Ring instead) and then the whole group flew down the ladder shaft.  This revealed a room with doors north and south, and walls with carvings of drow and spiders torturing and enslaving gnomes and surface elves, depicted with simpleton features.  

Zaber listened to both doors.  Behind the north door he heard speech in Undercommon: someone monologuing about death and blood and research.  Behind the south door, nothing.  The group came up with a plan: have Seépravir cast Great Haste on everyone, then open the door and charge in and alpha strike the presumed drow spellcaster in there.  However, Seépravir was already maintaining Flight and Dark Vision and Invisibility on everyone, so the cumulative penalties to her Great Haste rolls were prohibitive.  She got Garreth Great Hasted, then failed a couple times in a row on Polly, and the group decided to just go rather than waiting for more spells.

Elias pushed up to the front and flailed the door.  It flew open.  The room contained a drow male in robes, a drow female in black mail, and a golem.  Zaber flew behind the female.  Polly fired two arrows at the male, but the golem somehow arm-parried both of them.  Garreth flew in and tried to rapidly chop the wizard.  The golem parried the first blow, but failed to parry the second.  But for the second blow, Garreth was visible, and the drow wizard was able to parry it for himself using Iron Arm.  Garreth noticed a little stone orbiting around the wizard's head.

The female drow appeared to not notice Zaber behind her, and attacked Garreth with her rapier.  He parried it.  The golem cast a spell on the wizard.  Elias flew up and shield rushed the drow warrior, but she dodged.  The wizard cast a spell on the drow warrior.

Zaber snuck up behind the female drow and stabbed her in the skull, through chinks in her coif.  He had to use Luck to reroll his attack to hit, but she got no defense as she had no idea he was there, and he did 8 points cutting to the skull.  This inflicted a stun check at -10, which she failed by more than 5, so she was knocked out.  Some of her blood spurted out and was acidic, burning both Zaber and Garreth for 1 HP (despite their armor).

Polly loosed two more arrows at the wizard's skull.  The golem parried the first, but failed to parry the second.  The wizard cast Deflect to parry the second.  A Dire Bat, which had been hanging around perched on a podium, swooped to its master's defense, attacking Garreth's face, but he parried it.  Garreth, noticing that the wizard had just used his blocking spell for the turn and its bodyguard golem had just tried two parries, ran up and tried to rapid strike the wizard to death.  The golem failed to parry his first swing, but the wizard managed a retreating dodge.  The golem failed to parry his second swing, and the wizard failed to dodge it.  Garreth rolled 26 cutting damage, and, unfortunately for the wizard, he had no armor and not a lot of HP, so 39 injury was 3 death checks.  He didn't have much HT either, and failed the second one.  Garreth used his remaining attacks on the dire bat, and killed it too.

The golem, angry that its master was dead, tried to get revenge on Garreth by backing up and them slamming him.  Garreth foolishly parried, and this resulted in a broken katana.  Garreth was injured and knocked down.  Elias smashed the golem in the head with his flail, and this caused it to fall over with a Clank!

With Garreth's katana broken, the group decided to (finally, after 3 sessions) go back to Cillamar.  They fired looted the two drow of some mail, a rapier, a magic robe, an ioun stone, and a magic amulet.


GM's Comments:

One of the female drow warriors that Garreth threw out the portcullis was actually only unconscious, not dead.  Until the 400 foot fall, anyway.  The 9d+1 falling damage, on top of the stab to the skull she'd taken before, inflicted 3 death checks, and she failed the third one.   

The drow wizard was totally unable to take a katana hit.  This is why he had a bodyguard golem, and blocking spells.  But once he ran out of active defenses, he went down with one solid katana attack.  Wizards really should wear armor.  (Granted, he was in his lair, in a hidden fortress in a stalactite 400 feet above a giant cave hundreds of feet underground.  Should be a pretty safe place to not wear armor.  But, still, clearly not safe enough.)

Never parry an slam from a large monster with any weapon you care about, unless that weapon is utterly indestructible.  Garreth learned that lesson the hard way.  Fortunately, he had Signature Gear on that katana, so he'll be able to get it fixed or find another one just like it.

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