Friday, May 25, 2012

The Maiden in the Mirror

This is another adventure with Tom as the Dungeon Master. Typically, we have a standing rule that if you're the DM, you can not play as your own character too (as it sort of ruins the experience if the DM's character reveals hidden secrets, passages, riddles, et cetera). However, we made a small exeption to this rule this time around as there were only two other players (Steve and myself) available. We are still working on the timeline as to when these events actually transpired seeing as it was a memorable experience and that it doesn't quite fit into Tom's fully-fleshed out campaign yet. We were thinking that this would happen AFTER certain events. This is a part of the "official" timeline though. (I'll make a diagram of the timeline in the near future because of these multiple "branching" storylines).

This is actually one of my favorite exploits thus far. (These are basically just highlights of the adventure. I don't remember too much of the finer details, but most of the story here is intact.)

Dungeon Master: Tom
Characters Involved:

  1. Paalk the Minotaur (Steve)
  2. Valcrith Fletcher (Me, Dave)
  3. Delgryn (Tom playing as himself despite being the DM)

So we are sent to look for the whereabouts of this wizard/mage guy because he had not been heard from in quite a while. At the entrance to this cave/dungeon are a bunch of big monsters. I had completely forgotten that Tom had said that they were orcs. I had imagined larger man-eating giants/trolls and saw an immediate threat, one in which we would have no shot taking head-on. (This is why it's best to pay close attention to details). Luckily, they were all asleep.

Unfortunately, there were a bunch of twigs and other things strewn about that could wake them up at any given moment so we had to be extremely cautious. So, at the risk of getting turned into a new form of hero paste all across the floor, we decide to tiptoe around them to the next door. Then meta-game, we realize that it would probably be better to tie up these orcs so that we could live to see another day (this was especially true considering that I'm wearing heavy armor). So, we decide to make an elaborate plan. Valcrith would get into his swordsman's stance (just in case something went awry) while Paalk would work on the door. All the while Delgryn, using his agility and assassin's repertoire of skills would bind up the orc's limbs so that they'd have little chance to catch us. The plan was fail proof. However...we ran into a bit of a dilemma. Our CHARACTERS didn't know the plan!!!

Instead of whispering, we had them use a combination of non-verbal communication/charades to motion to return to the entrance of the cave (we had to be crafty though and made sure that the signs we used were universally understood. It made for an excellent challenge). Then we laid out the plan verbally when we were out of earshot and then carried it out. It was a flawless success!!!

Then we end up in this room filled with all sorts of books, scrolls, & potions. We started exploring the room to get an idea of the whereabouts of our missing mage. Valcrith had stumbled upon a small shard of shiny stone while looking about the room and decided that it may hold some significance so he put it in his pocket. The most interesting aspect of this room however, was this lone mirror near the next door. A woman was on the other end of it. Apparently a botched spell trapped her in a new plane of existence. Her fiancé, Venzor, was determined to reverse it, but knew not of how to do so. He traveled further into the dungeon to uncover its secrets (and hopefully the solution), but hadn't returned for a considerable amount of time. The poor lass was absolutely heartbroken. At that precise moment, I had a sort of epiphany. So Valcrith took out the shard and a handkerchief (I just said that I had one for these sorts of scenarios and Tom allowed it) and using the reflection of the shard to reflect the light to the other, larger mirror, he offered to dry her tears. Tom was like "Wow, dude that was pretty epic."

I was grinning ear to ear. We had somewhat of a difficult time getting out of that room though. The next door was sealed shut by powerful magic. (I suspect that this was to protect the young girl and the fragile mirror.) Even Delgryn had a difficult time trying to open the door. (He tried using his Shadow powers to enter another realm and open the door that way. Fairly clever in my opinion, but it still failed.) Luckily, in a birdcage (with a skeleton of a bird, probably a beloved pet) was a keystone that unlocked the way.

It was then that Valcrith thought that it might be wise to carry the "mirror maiden" with him on his back considering that the Orcs in the other room might awaken and smash it in their efforts to find out who tied them up.

In the room that we had just unlocked, there was a large statue and a bunch of Kobalds waiting for us. We got into battle and luckily no harm came to the mirror (even though Val had tied it to his back). Once Paalk & Delgryn disposed of most of the little nuisances, we decided to examine the statue. Paalk then proceeded to bull-rush the statue and knocked it over. revealing a hole with a sac in it. In the sac was a bunch of rocks with symbols on them.

Apparently the rocks had mystical properties to them as Paalk examined them with a history check and remembered someone using them to create a fire and in another combination, ice. Paalk himself tried to replicate the process, but to no avail.

Within the next few rooms, there was an group of either Orcs or Goblins that we caught offguard. (We Paalk & I used our patented one-two co-op slam into the door). It was at that moment that Paalk had an idea. Remember how I mentioned that Steve sometimes has a moment of sheer awesomeness? Well, he had one of those here. He crafted a makeshift moltov cocktail using a bit of rope and a vial of oil. He managed to create quite a fire too. When the last of the creatures took his final breath I decided to try something a bit bolder than usual. I tossed my carrikal behind me, eyes closed (I somehow managed to roll a nat 20 after I told Tom & Steve what I wanted to do, not expecting it to work, but always hopeful) and I crit-killed-decapitated the poor thing. Tom & Steve were in awe of the spectacle.

Further into the dungeon we discovered the remains of Venzor. There were mushrooms and spores spread out all over the place. The poor girl was mortified at the sight of her dead lover. Unfortunately, none of the items in his possession were able to break the spell. So, the party decided to continue onwards deeper into the dungeon.

This is where things got REALLY fun. At this point, Delgryn decides to take the lead and carefully opened the door a crack then, borrowing Valcrith's shiny stone, he reflected the light of the room into the mirror and suddenly turned pale (or about as pale as a Drow could get considering his dark complexion) and immediately pulled out his book and rapidly flipped through the pages. Valcrith asked what he saw but Delgryn was feverishly searching through the pages of the "monster manual"  in order to find its weakness. Paalk & I decided to use the same trick he did and discovered a big black dragon on the other end of the room sleeping soundly. Paalk was ecstatic. He wanted to tear into that dragon something fierce because once defeated, he could use the money that it surrounded itself in to help pay off the ransom on his father's head. Valcrith however, knew that if Delgryn was worried, this monster would be a most formidable foe, one that could not be taken lightly.

Now, it's never a good idea to let the meta-gaming conflict with the confines of the story, but I wanted to sort of throw Tom in for a loop. So I persuaded Steve (Paalk) to take his book seeing as it contained a lot of valuable information and at the very least, it would fetch a hefty price on the market. Steve, thought about it for a minute, was convinced that I had made an excellent point and when Delgryn had his back turned, Paalk swiped his guidebook. In the meantime, Valcrith began plotting out a plan. First, he set aside the mirror and told Alyssa not to worry and that if anything were to happen to us (the party excluding her) we apologize for putting her at risk. Secondly, using a sight check he asked to borrow some rope from Paalk which he promptly received without question (especially since Steve was more than amused at the panic-stricken Drown who just realized his book had gone missing). Valcrith then noticed that there was a well not too far from the Dragon's resting place. Paalk and I then rushed into battle, tied the one end of the rope to the treasure chest, filled it with gold, and then lassoed the behemoth (after a couple of attempts) and tossed the heavy chest into the well. The dragon was dragged into the well where we then proceeded to pummel it into pulp. All the while, Delgryn was scouring the area for his text. I shouted to him that we needed his help but he said that he was still looking. At that point I told him that the dragon had eaten his book. Delgryn thus, in an enraged fury, leapt onto the beast and tore into it like paper. Yet, even after the beast was slain, the search of his bowels revealed nothing. Thus, the dungeon was vacated and we left with a mirror, a befuddled Drow, and quite a large sum of money. 

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