Batista, human thief, approximately 325 points
Aquinas, Dwarf cleric, approximately 325 points
William Von Cromberg, human knight, approximately 325 points
Acroa, Human scout, approximately 305 points
AElfvine, Human Wizard, approximately 315 points
No hirelings joined this foray to the dungeon.
After gathering a couple of rumors, stocking up on healing potions and other consumables the party prepared for another early morning departure for the dungeon. Just as they were about to go up to their rooms for the night a man entered the Inn. He was ragged and wounded. His left had was missing, his arm ending in a stump covered in bloody bandages. He had bruising on his neck, as if he had been strangled. He walked with a noticeable limp. An empty scabbard hung at his waist. The bandoleer over his shoulder was empty. His chain mail missing several links and caked with blood. He staggered over to the group and flung a rolled sheaf of papers at the group. Shouting as though he were deaf, "I'm Done. I will Never Go Back to that thrice cursed dungeon. Here take these maps" His voice dropped to a barely heard whisper he continued, " I left four friends down there, if you see them, tell them I'm sorry."
The maps were very basic, and seemed to be areas that were new to the characters. In all there were 3 maps. One labeled "B", one "C" and one "E". Both B and C were of man made dungeon, but E indicated natural caverns and an underground river.
Accompanied by the wagon crew, the group rolled out just before dawn. Traveling over the river and through the woods they eventually came to the clearing surrounding Castle Falcolnflight and the ruined village.
Stopping at the clearings edge, William, using a spyglass, spotted a couple of figures walking on the outer wall of the castle. Batista was selected to sneak ahead of the group and gather information. In the mean time the rest of the party stealthfully made their way to the rally point in the ruined village.
Batista waited until the figures were out a sight before sneaking his way to the base of the wall. Fearing more people may be inside the castle, he elected to climb the outer wall. Three stories straight up. The climb was difficult, requiring several rolls all with negative modifiers, but his extremely high skill came through. Once on the walkway he found a shadowy corner to hide in. Here he waited for the cloaked figures to return. His luck held as only one of them approached him. Silently stepping from the shadow Batista snapped his saber out at the mans neck, doing enough damage to decapitate him. Batista quickly tossed the body over the crenelations of the wall and returned to his hiding spot. The second figure came around to investigate. Batista once again slipped from the shadows, this time running his blade through the man's belly. Too wounded to react the man staggered a bit. Batista planted his foot in the mans back and kicked him off the roof. Batista climbed down the wall and rolled the bodies for loot, finding only a dagger and a couple of gold on each one. Batista rejoined the group at the rally point. Once there Batista was questioned by the group as to what the figures were. He really didn't have much information, other than that they were human and poorly armed.
Leaving the relative safety of the rally point the group crossed the clearing as quickly and quietly as they could. They entered the castle through one of the many holes in the wall. Once inside they made straight for the stairway leading down to the dungeon below. Once underground they opted for the easier but longer path to what was now being called level A. The plan was to get to level B in as direct a route as possible. Taking the long narrow passage near the Crypt with the Otoroshi guarding it they headed for the stairway where they had encounter the giant bombardier beetles.
At the edge of their torch light they spied some quick, furtive movement. Acroa scouted ahead of the party to see what he could find. As he approached he saw movement again. This time he was able to make out that whatever it was had pale skin, and was smaller than a man. Suspecting a trap, the group stacked up at the next corner in the hallway. Leaping around the corner in an attempt to surprise their quarry, Batista was suddenly bathed in a aura of debilitating cold and frost. The six Frostfell Harriers were considerably quicker than the party. Taking advantage of their speed, the Harriers dashed up the hallway to better engage the party in close combat. Batista was set upon by two of the creatures, each attacking him with icy claws. Batista was able to dodge both attacks easily. However, the Cold aura surrounding the Imps took its toll,doing 5 points of damage. The rest of the party was similarly able to fend off the claw attacks, but each was wounded by the sub-zero cold. Aquinas started casting Protection from Cold as quickly as he could on the most wounded members of the party, but the tight hallway made this difficult. William was his usual killing machine wading through the Harriers as quickly as he could get to them. Aelfvine was able to snare one with a Fascinate spell, allowing the other members of the party to dispatch it with ease. By the time the combat was over most of the party was severely wounded. Healing potions were used in great quantity, everyone received some first aid. While the spell casters rested, William lamented not having sought out Brother Murdock to join them.
The Delvers then made their way to Level B and using the newly acquired map, discovered that they had missed several rooms on the last trip down. The first of these rooms contained a long bench, big enough to hold six people, facing a large wooden X standing in the center of the room. Each arm of the X had a manacle attached to it. Behind the X was a small chair, bolted to the floor and facing away from the Planks. The far side of the room had a locked wooden door. Batista mad quick work of the lock and discovered torture chamber behind the door. In addition to the usual racks, iron maidens and other tools of the trade the group found a large drain in the floor covered with a heavy iron grate.
Peering down into the darkness Batista was able to make out some angular shapes, no details, but the shapes were definitely man made. Working together the party was able to lift the grate out of the opening. Securing a rope to one of the torture devices the group began to lower themselves down the drain. William waited until the entire group was down then jumped in, using a ring of feather fall to make his way down.
The room was large. The walls covered in murals of giant spiders, demons, dark elves and creatures that were half man-half spider. Several large graves dominated the center of the room. Each was six feet square and stood about four feet tall. Each of the stone graves was also covered in carvings of spiders, dark elves, and the half man-half spider creatures. Batista, wanting to see what was inside tried to shift one of the stone lids on the graves. As soon as he touched the stone it began to tremble and shake. Soon all of the lids were doing the same. Then with a loud crack the lids all broke into pieces and giant Undead spiders about 9 feet across clambered out.
The party panicked a bit. Batista, still wounded from the fight with the Frostfell Harriers made his way to the one doorway out of the room. Acroa loosed an arrow at the over sized eye of one of the spiders. William also made his way to the doorway Batista was intending to flee through. Aquinas fired of an armor spell on AElfvine. AElfvine began to concentrate on an illusion spell. The spiders attacked and most were able to defend with out much issue although they did have to give ground and would soon be backed up against the walls.
Batista after realizing that the rest of the group was going to stand and fight returned from the hallway, ran his full move and took a wild swing at the closest spider. Acroa loosed another eye shot, scoring good damage. William was able to advance and attack also.
The fight went on for a couple more rounds, neither side able to do much damage to the other. AElfvine's spell finally went off and trying to play to the natural tendencies of spiders created a phantasm of thousands of smaller spiders attacking the giant spiders. This was just the edge the group needed. It didnt cause a lot of damage but it was enough to put a couple of them over the edge. This made it much easier for the party to gang up on the remaining spiders.
Hidden among the grave good the party found a suit of plate armor, black as night. Aelfvine rolling well on his Hidden lore, magic items skill was able to recognize it as a being Armor of Darkness.
IT was getting late and we needed to end for the night.
Two really close fights. THe Harriers were more difficult than I thought. They arent all that tough, but do hace a 1d cosmic aura attack. The spiders were easier for teh party to deal with. It was fun to see the looks on all of the players faces when I picked up 7 dice for a damage roll. by far the most I have used in this game.
Armor of Darkness: Known abilities: DR 8 all but torso, Torso DR 15. Deflect missile (only when an active defense is allowed), Dark vision. Being worn by "Good" people causes damage to the wearer.
The maps were given because I was tired of trying to keep the directions traight between myself anf the player doing the mapping. The maps are not labeled in any way and may not alwys be correct, but it should help save a lot of confusion
At the end of the session the players wanted to camp in the dungeon. I said no. My response was to paraphrase +Peter V. Dell'Orto
from his blog Dungeon Fantastic;
First you start camping in the dungeon, then you hide things in the dungeon, then you have to guard the things you have hidden, then you have to live in the dungeon to protect your stuff all the time, then you become one of the monsters in the dungeon.
I was wrong to say no. I should have let them camp. I mean really, why not. If the party does follow the example above, the game changes. Either starting over with new PCs or with a different focus on the mico climate within the dungeon.