Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Dining Hall (08/29/2010)

Last week the party had cleaned out the first section of the Horned Hold. Orc Berserkers and several Duergar put up a good fight and the party had expended of their several daily powers before eventually closing out the conflict. Our adventurers inspected the rest of the guard room and the workshop, found two exits, and then took a short rest and discussed where to go next.

One exit led to a bridge that led over the chasm to a larger building. From that vantage point the party could see another building on this side of the chasm, it too having a bridge that led across a chasm to the larger building. The other exit led south to the smaller building via a cave. Their short rest completed the party moved through the cave on their way to the smaller building. A pair of double doors facing south awaited them.

The party listened at the door and heard nothing. The door was unlocked, so the party crept in and found a U-shaped room. There was a south-facing door straight ahead that was flanked by doors facing east and west, plus the hallway that lead west from the entrance turned and another set of south-facing doors could be seen. Oester scooted in that direction to ensure nothing was hiding around the corner, and Renny came forward to listen at the west facing door where he listened and heard nothing. The party decided to move to the western most set of doors.

The party listened at the door and heard some vague conversation going on, most likely duergar, so Krstic and Bogar threw the doors open and surprised a Duergar Scout and a Duergar Guard. Taking advantage of the element of surprise the party launched off the most impressive display of ranged weaponry since the initial assault on Baghdad back in the original Gulf War. Several critical hits plus several other impressive attacks had the two duergar quickly bloodied and then due to poor initiative rolls the party was able to drop the two duergar before they could even yell for help.

DM note: Wow! My duergar never even got a chance. I hope the party didn't use all their good rolls in the first battle (insert evil DM laugh).

This room featured two large stuffed trophies and two doors, one facing west and one facing south. If the party had their orientation correct the west facing door likely led to the other walkway over the chasm. Before inspecting that door the party moved to the south door where they heard another door in that as-of-yet uninspected room open and close. The party quickly moved in and found a small bedroom and a closed door facing east. The party made an assumption that someone or something in this room had heard the fight outside and had gone the other direction to ... who knows? Run away? Notify someone?

The only way to find out was to open the door and see what lay ahead. Bogar opened the door and found a Duergar Scout waiting for him. Behind the scout stood larger Duergar, but much of the room could not yet be seen. Oester decided it was too crowded, so he decided to run back around to see if he could access the room from a different direction. Renny decided this was a good idea and followed him.

Several blows bloodied the scout, who then ran back behind the other duergar who took his spot and continued to further block the doorway. The new duergar then hammered Bogar with two blows in one turn. Bogar was able to get in some hits, but the duergar seemingly shrugged off any damage from him or any of  the ranged weapons he was hit with. Jenneth was able to teleport the bloodied Bogar out of harms way and it was then Krstic's turn to hold back the large duergar.

Renny and Oester reached the other set of double doors and opened them only to find a Duergar Guard standing on the other side of the doors. They could see the rest of the room, likely a dining room with several long table and benches plus a large fireplace. They could also see the rest of the duergar in the room, three Duergar Guards, three Duergar Scouts, and the Duergar Champion fighting Krstic. Eldred also had decided to run back around the other way where he joined Renny and Oester, and so the other half of the battle ensued.

The Champion was able to deliver his damage, but Miave, Akta and Jenneth kept peppering him with ranged fire and Krstic was able to get in some blows of his own. Just as they thought they had him bloodied the Champion polymorphed into a large creature taking up a full four floor squares of space and further blocking the door where Krstic was fighting him.

The Duergar Guards were tough to kill, and then the Scouts began to use their invisibility to blink in and out as part of their attacks. It was at this time the party began to deliver solid blows and the duergar began to fall, eventually including the champion. Finally only one Duergar Scout remained, and even while invisible he fell to a mighty (and lucky) blow from Oester.

With the duergar finally dead all heads turned towards the closed door at the west end of the room. During the height of the battle an emaciated human in tattered clothes had crawled out from underneath one of the tables and made his way past this door and closed it behind him. The party stepped into the room and found a kitchen type area. The door to the left led into an empty room containing several beds, the door to the right led to another store room, this room containing three human slaves shivering in fear.

The three slaves - Arum, Bessa, and Calder - had been captured by Bloodreavers ~6 months ago and were then sold to the Duergar and they had worked here ever since. They were not the Riverdown slaves, but one of their tasks was to take food to occasional groups of slaves that were being held in the Hold on the other side of the chasm. They had been delivering food once a day for the past week or so and were just beginning to prepare the food bundles for the current days delivery.

After some discussion the party made an offer - take the food over today per normal, report back any and all details, and the party will provide each of them with a weapon and they can make their own way back to the great hall. Going free was the priority of the slaves, but the party was able to convince then to help. As the slaves prepared the foodstuffs to take to the other slaves the party was able to inspect the remaining rooms in this section of the hold. Several rooms contained barrels and crates of mundane provisions, there was the dining hall where the main fight took place, and there were two rooms containing beds, the first bedroom also containing a chest. As the party looked around the saw:

3 Duergar Scouts, each wearing chain mail, wielding a war hammer and a crossbow, and carrying ten crossbow bolts

3 Duergar Guards. each wearing chain mail and wielding a war hammer

Randarrr, Duergar Champion, wearing chain mail and a pair of Dwarven Greaves and wielding a war hammer

DM Notes: That's right, I said "Greaves."

No secret doors were found, and the Dwarven Greaves that Randarr wore glowed magic. Oester was able to open the chest and he reported that it contained 100 GP and 200 GP in gems. Each member of the party earned 200 XP and an Action Point for the encounter.

Akta guarded the door to the outside walkway, Miave and Jenneth looked for secrets and magic, while the others inspected the remaining area. Krstic and Eldred continued to speak with the slaves, the slaves more than willing to tell everything they could about what was across the chasm. There were plenty of duergar over there, some of them mage-types, plus there were orcs, and in the room where the slaves were kept were devils(!). The slaves reported that they crossed the bridge with the food, knocked on the door, were let in, and they walked up a hallway, made a right and then a left through two doors and the slaves were kept in slave pits in a large room. The door across this bridge was barred from the other side and a viewing slit was used to identify the slaves when they knocked. Oh, and by the way, the duergar also had some sort of "bolt shooting machine" that lay against the wall in the room across the bridge.

They had only crossed the one bridge out of this portion of the Hold, although they had routinely moved through the cave back and forth between the two portions of the Hold on this side of the chasm. There was no specifically regular traffic across the chasm, although it was not unusual for different duergar to occasionally make visits to or from the other side of the chasm.

The party had a desire to take a long rest - these four tough battles today had drained them of most of their daily powers and much of the their healing surges. The slaves were ready to take the food across the bridge to the other side, and we'll pick it up there next week.

Score Card: With the completion of this encounter the party had accumulated an additional 455 GP, 578 SP, and 550 GP in gems. A pair of Dwarven Greaves had not been claimed yet. With the 200 XP earned during this encounter the part had accumulated 6220 XP (7500 needed to reach Level 6). Including this encounter Renny was sitting at 3220 XP (3750 needed to reach Level 4).

DM Notes: After some discussion it was also determined that Jenneth was indeed able to "move" the power from the +1 Life Drinker Scimitar to another weapon. Therefore, while back in town, Akta traded his +1 Mace to Eldred for Eldred's mundane mace, and then Jenneth transferred the Life Drinker power from Akta's scimitar to Akta's mundane mace giving him a +1 Life Drinker Mace. Game time wise this happened "last night" and the Grimmerzuhl Trading Post encounter and the Horned Hold encounters have all taken place "today."


  1. Leo - I looked up the Dwarven Greaves, and it's
    probably a good thing Krstic didn't try to push
    his way into the room (it wouldn't have worked).

    In any event, they are not anything Jenneth needs.

  2. Scott - As for the magical ammunition, this is all described in Adventurers Vault 2. They are one use items, that is why they dont cost as much. There are some other effects also but it is all described there.