Monday, November 18, 2013

Proselytizing (and Stabbing) in the Name of Herbert the Pig God

Dramatis Personae:
  • Indis the Elf, aka "Crowbar" (played by Cori)
  • Filibert Fairbarn the Halfling (played by Ben)
  • Ambiorix the Fighter (played by Sam)
  • Panope the Cleric (NPC, but run in combat by Sam)
  • ...and introducing Xanna the Thief (played by Amanda)
Bones vs. Animals vs. Shiny Objects
As the party reached the top of the Treacherous Stair they found themselves face with three possible entrances into the depths of the Great Glacier.  In front of the left tunnel were scattered several broken stone tools and weapons as well as the gnawed-upon bones of many creatures.  The middle tunnel showed signs of entry and exit by a creature or creatures with long, thin lizard-like feet ending in three talons... and what's more, something just inside the tunnel was glittering!  The right-hand tunnel smelled strongly of animals and just inside its entrance lay the frozen and ripped-open body of a large wolverine.  Not-so-surprisingly, the adventurers decided to take their chances with the middle tunnel and its glittery contents.

All That Glitters...
Ice Trolls!
Inside, the glitter turned out to actually be gold.  In particular, half a dozen bricks of the metal (each about the size of a 1/4" thick playing card), stamped in an unreadable language.  It was stacked neatly in the middle of the tunnel, as if left there on purpose.

Further exploration led to a room filled with discarded bones and some kind of carnivorous beast scat* and then another chamber scattered with more gold (coins this time) and contemporary weapons (contemporary for the setting--swords and the like, not AK-47s).  

It was in the third chamber--after Ambiorix and Fil fell through a cleverly-disguised pit in the floor--that the denizens of this tunnel were identified:  Ice Trolls!  As the fighter and halfling struggled their way out of the pit, three of the monsters leapt across it and attacked the rest of the party.  (Fortunately, Ambiorix had a Rope of Climbing to aid him and Fil out.)  Thinking quickly, Indis used a Phantasmal Force spell to create an illusionary cube of fire around the trolls, which not only bought enough time for Ambiorix and Fil to get themselves out of the pit trap, but also allowed Xanna to soften up the monsters a bit using her crossbow.  The illusion trapped the trolls for several rounds and, after attacking them with flaming oil-- and finally swords--the party had dispatched them.

Victorious but bloodied, everyone decided to find a defensible position and heal overnight.  (Aided significantly by Xanna's ingenious "portable heater" made of candles, clay pots, and a tent.)

I Am the Prophet of Herbert!
Morlocks.  Lots and lots of them.
The next day, our heroes decided to exit the troll tunnel and explore the left-hand passageway marked by discarded bones and stone tools.  Descending deeper into the glacier, they eventually discovered a guardroom filled with blue-skinned primitives who also seemed to keep albino apes as pets/servants.  Instead of rushing to attack, it was decided that Fil should try to communicate with them.  Who knows, maybe the creatures would honor the PCs as heroes for destroying the ice trolls?  (You can see where this is going already, can't you?)

Between Indis's ice pictograms and Fil's grunting and pantomime, it seemed like the Morlocks (for that's what they were) understood.  Suspicious but open, they escorted the characters through the tunnels (at spearpoint, it should be mentioned) and into a massive cavern filled with a ruined city, an underground lake, and a village of crude huts.

Just as it seemed that all might be well, however, the party was pushed to the center of town where there stood a crudely-carved statue of a six-legged dragon.  As the party drew closer, the hundred-some Morlocks began to chant "Ch-thisst! Ch-thisst!"  A shaman appeared, covered in tattoos and wearing a necklace made of the same kind of gold bricks found earlier.  Raising a ceremonial stone dagger over his head, the shaman motioned for Fil to step forward.  Not quite ready to be sacrificed to the Dragon God, Fil instead grunted and motioned for the shaman to stand down.  And then he produced Herbert the Two-Headed, Possibly-Enchanted, Golden Piglet Statue from his pack and raised it above his head like an idol, demanding worship. Enraged by this blasphemy, the shaman leapt at Fil while commanding his followers to attack.

And that's when Indis's illusions saved the party once again.  Just as the mob of angry, armed monsters were closing in, she made it appear that the Dragon God itself had come and was about to devour everything in its path.  The Morlock village lost its shit.  A dozen or so monsters (including the shaman) attempted to destroy the interlopers who'd made their god so angry that he decided to show up in person, but most of them ran for cover.

And thus began a running fight to the village's back gate.  It was close a couple of times--Xanna escaped with a single hit point remaining, and most everyone else was battered and bruised--but eventually everyone made it away from the village and into the dark maze of the ruined city beyond.  Taking cover in one of the ruined buildings, the party decided once again to make camp and formulate the next step in their quest for the Frozen City's legendary gold...

The Frozen City.  No, the Coke sign is not really there.
I borrowed the map from here.

Tabletop photo by Sam.

* Carnivorousness is the assumption, at least, when poo contains teeth and bits of bone.

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