Despite an impending ice storm we finally got to kick off the game. I spent the day before, which I had off from work, planning, finishing a few more rooms, and printing character sheets. My printer started acting up, but was I was able to trouble shoot it and finish up with just a couple of minutes to spare before I had to make the after school run to pick up the kids.
Here is the first play report. I will be following a format similar to the one that +Peter V. Dell'Orto uses over at Dungeon Fantastic. I just really like the way it is laid out.
Batista; Human thief, 300 points
Ori; Wood elf scout, 300 points
Unnamed; Dwarf Cleric 300 points
William; Human knight 300 points
Drav; Dwarf wizard 300 points
The group started out at their residence, The Inn of the White Wyvern. This large inn has been the base of operations for different adventuring groups for years and years. William spent some time chatting up the locals for information about the Castle and dungeon below it. He was able to find out that "the dungeon is picked clean, and a waste of time," and " fire is especially dangerous in the dungeon." this last tidbit sent Drav, the fire mage into a bit of a tizzy. William also spent some time in town, looking for other adventuring groups, observing what equipment they were taking with them, and the injuries they had suffered when they returned. This information was all rather generic, though they did see that parties returned with a myriad of wounds.
The group started out for the castle in the early predawn hours. They traveled over the river, and through the woods. The party found the valley of Castle Falconflight with little trouble. They were a bit surprised to discover a ruined village to the east of the castle. Ori scouted into the village while the rest of the party stayed hidden among the trees. Ori unable to find any signs of recent activity in the village motioned for the group to join him. After a close stealth roll or two, the group gathered in a broken down house. The house provided a bit of cover from the castle. The group declared the house to be its "out of the dungeon" rally point. If the group gets separated, go to the house and wait for the rest of the party to come and get you.
From their vantage point the group could see that the portcullis, while still standing, was off of its rails. Vines and other plants had overgrown the lattice work of the gate preventing anyone from seeing inside. They could also see that in many places the walls of the three story structure were broken. In some places repairs had been made, but none recently. Ori was sent to scout the parameter of the Castle walls. As he made his way from cover to cover, he discovered a tree that seemed to be dead, while all the others around it were in good health. Investigating further he found the area around the tree to be quite cold. Just as he was about to return to the group to share this information he was hit by a blast of frost. A Frost snake had made its lair in the roots of the tree, for 5 damage. Ori turned and loosed the arrow he had knocked before setting out, hitting the six foot snake in the eye, killing it instantly.
He returned to the party and explained what happened. Drav wanted to take time to field dress the snake so he could harvest its organs for sale back in town but, the group disagreed. Drav eventually draped the carcass over a tree branch, out of the reach of any scavengers, to be picked up on the way home.
Ori once again set out to complete his circuit around the castle. On the corner turret furthest from the village he found a section of the wall that was completely broken obviously used as an entrance by many. There a large numbers of tracks were found going into and out of the castle.
While Ori was gone, the others discovered a small opening in the wall, hidden in the shadow. It would be a squeeze, but they should all fit though. Ori returned and told them of the entry way, the group decided that the less used gap in the wall was a safer way to go.
Using stealth the group made their way to the gap in the wall. All made the DX check to slither through. Once inside William lit up a torch. Ori finally remembered to first-aid himself, taking care of most of the damage he suffered in the snake attack.
In a long narrow hallway, arrow slits on either side, the group must make its first real decision, left or right? After investigating the arrow slits on the inside wall, discovering a courtyard with a keep in the middle, the group heads back towards the front gates of the Castle. The first door they discover is checked for traps, but finding none, Batista sets to picking the lock. Easily making his roll, he opens the door and finds a closet full of fine chairs, all rotted and moldy. Batista was quite discourage that the closet did not hold all the wealth of the castle. Continuing on to the south west corner turret,a skeleton is seen lying on the floor, in front of a door. While Batista set to disarming a poison trap, The unnamed Cleric checked to see if the body had been given proper burial rites. It had not so he performed the rites claiming a set of lock picks (found on the body) as his proper payment for the service of last rights. A loud drumming could be heard, but the group was unable to triangulate from where the sound was coming.
The room behind the trapped door proved to be empty, except for footprints and scat of a few small woodland creatures.
The corridor turned to the West, so the group followed it. Behind a door they discovered a set of spiral stairs leading both up and down. A discussion of whether to try to clear the level, or head down the stairs resulted in Drav being out voted so the group headed down the stairs. Half way down, William lit a second torch to placed it in a wall sconce. At this point, the group started marking the walls with chalk making it easier to track where they had been and the line of retreat.
Further exploration of the lower level brought them to a set of barracks. Across the hallway the group found a passage blocked by a locked iron gate. Batista's tries to pick the lock were unsuccessful. A bit further down the hallway Batista finds a large key ring in the Jailer's quarters. He attempted palming it so that no one else could see it. He fooled every one except the Cleric. Batista announced that he will give the lock on the iron gate a second try. Using slight of hand he opened the lock with the key. With a great flourish and loud announcement of his success, Batista lead them down the corridor into a jail. The cells are all locked, and empty. Batista makes quick work of the locks. In one cell they found that the door also had a key hole on the inside of the door. Thorough searching discovered the cell has trap doors in both the ceiling and floor.
Due to some good mapping by William's player, they realized that the jail was directly under the keep. Opening the ceiling trap door, they discovered a ladder of iron rungs set into the wall of narrow vertical passage. Seeing it as an opportunity to avoid crossing the open courtyard to get to they keep, they started up the ladder. Batista went first, followed by the dwarves, who needed a boost to reach the first rungs of the ladder, then William, and Ori bringing up the rear.
At the top of the ladder, after opening another trap door, they discovered a chamber pot. Batista spent a long time examining the chamberpot, but in the end decided it was just a regular, old pot. The room the chamberpot was housed in was quite small, really only room for two people. Exiting the room they found themselves in a a bed room. All of the furniture was smashed. Moving on, they explored a large sitting room with a spiral staircase leading down. From two small balconies they discovered they were on the highest level of the keep. A second bedroom was also located. Ori watched the outer walls of the castle while the others searched. Spying movement on top of the Southwest turret, he went to tell the others, but when they returned, whatever it was, was gone. Hearing the drums again, they failed to locate them, again.
The party continued down the levels of the keep. The second level being servants quarters. The ground floor housed a great hall and a kitchen. A small bit of treasure in the form of spices was found in the larder just off the kitchen. Ori was peering out the back door of the keep, trying to locate the source of the drumming, when an ork stepped up to the ledge of the Northwest turret. It dropped its pants to urinate over the ledge. The ork spotted Ori (after a critical stealth failure). The party retreated back up the keep to the second floor and waited to see what the orks would do. They didn't have to wait long. The orks crossed the courtyard to head up the stairs. As soon as the first ork was in view Ori loosed an arrow into the eye of the charging ork, killing it instantly. The second ork grabbed the falling body and threw it at Batista, who was waiting near the stairs with his saber in hand. The throw was short. In the melee that followed the party made pretty quick work of the orks, most falling in two or three attacks. Only one ork manged to survive as it surrendered.
It was getting late so the party stripped the armor and weapons off the orks. Gathered the few little things they had found and headed back to town. They forced the remaining ork to carry the loot, then set it free before they arrived at the Inn.
Overall, the night was a success. The adventure started out a bit slower than I would have liked, but that was entirely my fault. Castle Falconflight is a well known dungeon. It just made sense that a lot of the areas were already picked clean. The group established a good marching order, some rally points and discovered an entrance to the next level down. I awarded four experience points as the meager treasure was not enough to cover the party's expenses.
I have already restocked the rumor chart and explored areas of the castle. The next session is scheduled for just after the New Year.