2019-07-03

DF Whiterock Session 55: Drow Ambush

Date:

2019-06-28



Weather:

Hot, scattered thunderstorms


Player Characters:

Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 316 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 389 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 384 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 372 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 404 points

Significant NPCs:

Hugin, Human Mercenary
Alrux, Dwarf Armorer
Quintus, Human Alchemist and Wizard
Logan, summoned Wolverine
2 Drow Spider Riders
2 Humongous Spiders
1 Drow Rogue
2 Drow Fighters
1 Drow Martial Artist
1 Phase Spider


The PCs started in Cillamar.  Zaber went looking for rumors about Lord Flitwick, and heard that he had left town after the death of his bodyguard Mord.  Zaber also heard that Hugin has lost an arm.  Garreth checked with Alrux to see if he could make armor out of giant turtle shell, and found out that Alrux had no experience with that.  Garreth went looking for teamsters to haul the giant turtle shell back to town, but didn't find anyone with a large enough team willing to do the job.

Seépravir cast Seeker on her wand-in-construction up in Mystenmere, and saw the wand looking finished.  Seépravir then cast Seeker to find Lord Flitwick, and saw him, dressed like a commoner, in an unknown inn somewhere.  Seépravir and Zaber then spread rumors that Flitwick was in hiding, disguised as a commoner.

Seépravir got Quintus to cast Staff on the giant beetle staff, so that she could use it to reduce spellcasting range.  She also researched the drow wizard's spellbook, and found a new spell called Acid Blood, and a few other spells related to blood.  The other books found in the drow wizard's room were in Draconic and Undercommon, which nobody in the party could read without magical help, so they saved them for later.

Zaber found out where Hugin lived, and the whole group went to visit him.  He had indeed lost one arm when guarding a merchant caravan that was attacked by druids.  He'd paid for a Regeneration spell at the Temple of Elyr, but the arm would take a month to regrow, so he was out of work for a while.  Polly brought him some hard carrot juice to cheer him up, and the group gave him some money.

Seépravir cast Flight on everyone, and Drunkenness on Garreth, and they all flew to Castle Whiterock, except Garreth who drunkenly pushed the wheelbarrow.  They reached the castle without incident, and then Seépravir critically failed casting See Secrets on Zaber, resulting in a horrible rotten stench that took time and a No-Smell spell to eliminate.  The group looked for additional signs of intruders in the upper levels of the dungeon, but didn't find any.  Then they went down the elevator to the underground river level.  Seépravir stopped maintainining Drunkenness so that Garreth could more effectively row a skiff, and he managed to avoid crashing while rowing the party and the wheelbarrow to the other side of the level.

Then the group started working on a plan.  What if they could magically dig a hole under the river to the stalactite, and undermine or erode the drow lair?  Seépravir started flying around trying to figure out where the river was relative to the stalactite, but the stalactite was pretty far west of the river, so it would take quite a bit of tunneling to get the water there.  She cast a Wizard Eye and sent it down the whirlpool to see where it went.  The Wizard Eye took 110 HP of crushing damage and went away.  She made another Wizard Eye, cast Ethereal Body on this one, and sent it down the whirlpool in the Ethereal Plane.  This time, it managed to survive going down hundreds of feet in the churning water, before hitting a no mana zone and winking out of existence.  Time for another plan.

Everyone flew (or pushed a wheelbarrow) to the Immense Cavern, then went south then west until they were under the giant stalactite where they'd met the drow.  Then Seépravir cast Invisibility on everyone, and they flew up.  Not wanting to go back into the portcullis on the southeast side of the stalactite, they flew around to the arrow slits on the west side.  Zaber peeked in, and didn't see anything.  Seépravir tried Shape Earth to enlarge an arrow slit into an entrance, but with so many spells maintained, she had a hard time casting it.  When she finally managed to cast it, the rock resisted: someone had some anti-tunneling enchantments on the stalactite.

Trying another tactic, Seépravir cast Hush on both Garreth and Polly so they could dig silently, then Garreth started smashing with a pickaxe.  On a good swing, he could do enough damage to nick the rock, even through the anti-tunneling magic.  After several minutes of chipping away, he managed to enlarge an arrow slit into a window.   Zaber and Polly slipped inside and started looking around.

They were in a room with two staircases up, and a door on the east wall.  This was where they had ambushed the singing drow and phase spiders on the previous delve.  The bodies had been cleaned up.  Polly walked toward the door, and yanked on the twine to tell Zaber where she was going.  Zaber listened at the door, heard nothing, tried opening the door, found it was locked, and picked the lock.  

Polly opened the door, and was face-to-face with a female drow with a rapier, who was looking at the door that had just swung open for no visible reason.  Zaber flew up to the ceiling.  Polly fired a bodkin (with Continual Light on it to signal the others) at the drow's eye.  With both Invisibility and Hush, the drow had no chance to dodge Polly's first arrow until it went through her eye into her brain, and then she was unconscious and unable to do much of anything.  However, as Polly stepped into the room she noticed two more drow to her south, riding humongous spiders and aiming hand crossbows at the door.  And, as her attack made her visible, they noticed her too and fired crossbow bolts at her.  The first shot was accurate, but Polly dodged it.  The second shot was a critical failure resulting in a dropped crossbow.  Resuming her turn that had been so rudely interrupted, Polly fired another arrow into a spider's skull, stunning it.

Garreth, Elias, and Seépravir flew toward the battle.  The unwounded spider, with a drow warrior on its back, charged at Polly and tried to bite her, but missed.  Its passenger fast-drew a rapier and slashed Polly, but she dodged.  The other spider fell unconscious, while its rider nimbly hopped off while drawing his rapier.

Zaber, still Invisible, waited for enemy to come closer.  Polly shot the other spider in the skull and stunned it.  She shot it in the skull again, but it (somehow!) dodged while stunned, and the arrow didn't hit the other targets behind the spider.  Garreth flew up more and threw his spear at a drow.  He missed the drow, missed its spider, then hit Polly, but she dodged it.  He fast-drew his katana.

The remaining spider remained stunned.  The drow within stabbing range of Garreth tried stabbing him in the face, but missed.  The other drow tried stabbing Polly, but she dodged.  This got him within range of Zaber, who went for a flying Invisible backstab from above, and inflicted a major (but not that major) wound.  The injured drow started yelling out details of the attackers in Undercommon for an unknown audience.

Elias flew up into close combat with a drow, still Invisible, and did not attack.  Seépravir used Rapier Wit to stun one of the drow.  Zaber tried stabbing him in the eye, but he managed to parry.  Polly shot the spider in the skull again, and this time knocked it out.  Then she put her second arrow into a drow's skull, and knocked him out too.  Garreth went after the last drow, not knowing Elias was in his hex.  The swing accidentally went for Elias first.  Elias blocked it with his shield.  Now knowing that Elias was there, Garreth held his remaining attacks.  

The doomed and surrounded drow could do nothing but recover from mental stun.  Elias smashed him in the skull with his flail, knocking him out.  Garreth then made sure all the drow and spiders were dead, while Zaber searched them for treasure.  Zaber waited until his Ring of Invisibility was ready to make him Invisible again, then stuck his head down the ladder exiting the room.  There were no enemies visible below, so he went down, then drew Logan the Wolverine from his Bag of Wolverine, and let him go exploring.  Seépravir cast Invisibility on herself, Polly, and Logan.

There were two doors out of the hallway.  Zaber listened to both, then opened the one to the north, where they had previously killed the drow wizard.  There were no enemies there, and the bodies were gone.  He then opened the door to the south, which was a storeroom containing furniture, rope, training dummies, and some wooden training rapiers.  Zaber searched carefully, and found a fine large knife under a table.  Garreth added the knife to his collection.

Zaber's See Secrets let him see a secret door in the hallway, heading west.  He listened, then opened it.  Beyond was a dusty secret passage, full of cobwebs.  Zaber and Logan searched the passage.  Logan found a door, around a corner to the north.  Behind the door were stairs leading up and down.  Logan went down.  Zaber (with See Invisible) followed him.  At the bottom of the stairs was another door.

Zaber opened the door and found a circular room, featuring a naked and horribly wounded female drow hanging from the ceiling, and three other drow.  One with robes and a bloodstained hook, one with a warhammer, and one with a rapier.  When the door opened, the one with a hook dropped her hook and drew a potion.  Polly flew up and tried to shoot her at point-blank range (twice), but she parried the bow (twice).  Garreth used the spear's magic to Great Haste himself.  The other two drow ran toward Polly.  Seépravir used Rapier Wit to stun the drow with the hammer.  Logan tried biting the torturer, but she kicked him away.  

The robed drow tried to kick Polly in the face, but she dodged.  Polly fast-drew her rapier and went for a feint and attack, but the drow dodged.  Garreth flew up to the drow with the warhammer and tried to hit him with his katana, but the drow critically parried (despite stun) and caused Garreth to drop his katana.  (Fortunately he had a lanyard so it didn't fall that far.)  Garreth then fast-drew a sai and tried throwing it at the drow, but he parried it.  (Despite being stunned.)  The male drow then came out of stun.

Surprise!  A phase spider appeared behind Seépravir and bit her in the back.  It rolled a critical hit, so she used Luck to make it reroll, and it only got a regular hit.  The bite inflicted a major but not grievous wound.  Seépravir made her stun check and resisted the poison, but was slowed by her wounds.

The drow with the rapier went after Polly with a Move and Attack, and hit, but Polly parried it.  Elias went after the phase spider with his flail, but it dodged.  Logan tried to bite the drow in robes again, but missed.  And we paused there in mid-battle.

GM's Comments:

I found the PC scheme to flood the stalactite amusing.  The underground river's not actually anywhere near right above it, so it would have required a ridiculous number of Shape Earth spells to dig a long diagonal shaft, and various other kinds of rolls to perfectly direct the shaft, while avoiding drowning from working in a flooded shaft, and whatever wandering water monsters may have come along.  Not really workable in this case, but amusing.

Sending a Wizard Eye down the whirlpool was also a neat idea.  Of course it was crushed by all the water, but making it Ethereal worked great, until it hit a no mana zone.

The idea of digging into the back side of the stalactite worked better than I expected.  The stalactite was enchanted against Shape Earth spells (this is very common, as earth wizards are the bane of every castle wall), and Seépravir was casting at a huge penalty thanks to tons of spells on so had very little chance of winning the contest.  But its DR wasn't quite enough to stop Garreth's pickaxe.  (He has a lot of ST, and the Forced Entry skill for bonus damage.)  And the Hush spell means that the manual digging didn't make any noise, so Garreth basically had as much time as he needed, unless he broke his pickaxe before he finished.   And starting next to an arrow slit minimized the amount of digging that had to be done.  So, this plan actually worked.

Invisibility and Hush are pretty good.  You probably knew that.  In DFRPG, Invisibility only lasts until you attack, so it's merely good not great, but sometimes that first attack is a one-shot knockout.

The first few drow the PCs fought went down pretty easy, but the ones in the fight in progress seem a bit tougher.  We'll see how it ends, next time.

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