Today marks milestones: this is the longest session I have ever run. We usually stop after about two hours, max. Tonight we played for almost 4. Anyway, three characters spent some time in town, and then visited the Delve, clearing out a level and a half.
-Wren the Unpronounceable, a cryptic elvish sorceress
-Ishtal, servant of Thor
-Stoich the Stalker, an amorous elvish thief
Our heroes awoke to a fresh day in the dwarf/human city of Taril, with no bad news from Stoich (luckily). Their first stop was to the Scholar’s Guild, where Wren inquired about the dragon Karalor. The scholar filled him in a little, and offered a translated copy of a biography of Karalor. Wren mentioned that he’d seen Karalor, and the scholar offered to make the copy in three days, as well as decipher the command word on his ring. The next stop was to the alchemist, to buy healing potions, as well as some other exotic brews. Finally, our heroes went to the blacksmith, so that Stoich and Ishtal could buy helmets, and then they headed north to the Crossroads.
There, Stoich sent a messenger to fetch him one of his chickens, and tell the going price of them in Sanor. Our heroes waited for him to return with the chicken (which they left at the inn), and then went back to Taril, where Wren picked up his ring (command word: Elvalviel) and the manuscript, which he has yet to peruse. Stoich bought 100gp worth of various kinds of pipeweed. Then they rode all the way back to the Crossroads, where the messenger reported that the generous price of chickens would be 5ep each (ultimately a net loss of 400gp for Stoich). Then, geared up, our heroes returned to the Delve, with the chicken in tow.
After a minor incident with some giant rats, they made their way through the goblin-splattered hall and into a series of catacombs. They found some minor items of treasure, slaughtered some zombies (which killed Wren’s charmed hobgoblin), and then disturbed a nest of ghouls. The ghouls fiercely defended their territory, and the party was only saved from destruction because 2 of them were elves, and therefore immune to the paralysis. Ishtal was paralyzed, though. Stoich found a chest, full of coins whose poison dart wounded him, and Wren discovered a secret door in one of the alcoves. Seeing a sarcophagus there, they decided to rest until Ishtal recovered.
Fearful of undead from the sarcophagus, Ishtal took prime position in the opening. Wren stood ready with a spell in hand. Stoich stood back with bis bow. As the sarcophagus was opened, a flash of brilliant light blinded Ishtal and Wren. Stoich took advantage of the distraction to loot the sarcophagus, which contained only some silver and a scroll of spells, all of which he kept. When the others finally recovered, our heroes rested awhile, and then went on to explore the rest of the level.
They were set on by some zombies, and then besieged by some giant flies on entering a large room. Wren badly wounded one with a magic missile, and the flies were ultimately defeated; but Wren was knocked unconscious, and with a broken leg. The others dragged him back to their secret room, where Ishtal healed the worst of the damage, and then they all went to sleep. In the morning, they cooked and ate the chicken, and prepared spells (Ishtal had levelled up by now, so he finally got a 2nd-level spell – he chose hold person).
Our heroes explored the rest of the level, fighting a few more zombies, and seeing more evidence of frightening beasts–the contents of these alcoves were strewn about and shredded. They made it to the stairs down (which they had reached last session), and sent Wren’s spider down to check the layout. Seeing it was safe, they proceeded. Faced with several options below (including descending to the next level immediately), they got Stoich to pick a locked door, and entered the room behind. It was notably empty, and the far door was locked. Stoich failed to pick it the first time, and then the trap triggered. Gas filled the room. Stoich immediately fell asleep. Wren and Ishtal drew their weapons, ready to fight more monsters, but the only danger was the gas. Ishtal was quickly put to sleep as well. Wren, the only one left standing, rushed to the far end, and managed to batter down the locked door. He managed to drag the others out as the gas dispersed, and then breathed a deep sigh of relief as they woke up.
Our heroes much more cautiously explored past the gas room, going through a few corridors, before deciding to batter down a door. Behind it were four goblins. Two were slaughtered, and the other two fled into another room. These were quickly dispatched. As they looted their spoils, Ishtal heard a faint slithering noise. He told the others, and they searched the room for secret doors. One opened, and they saw a room behind with some three lizard men who tried to talk to them. Wren, even with his knowledge of Draconic, failed to understand, and so the lizard men retreated further. Our heroes followed them into another room, where the lizard men tried again to communicate. Using sign language, they conveyed that they were hiding from something–which Wren managed to identify as a manticore. Wren and the others asked the lizard men for assistance, but they refused. They did, however, explain the layout of the level, and point out where all the goblins were, and where the manticore nested (the players don’t know that there are actually two manticores). Our heroes decided that, without Pollaro’s help, they would be unable to face a manticore successfully, and planned instead to do just a little goblin hunting on their way out of the level.
The lizard men let them out through a secret door, into the goblin warren. Our heroes turned left, and found themselves facing seven goblins, including some kind of leader. They joined battle, and the goblins quickly had them on the ropes. One backed Stoich into a corner, where he couldn’t use his bow, or draw his two-handed sword. Wren was knocked unconscious. Stoich managed to knock his goblin away and take him out, when four more goblins with crossbows came in from the other room, and readied to fire. Ishtal cast hold person on them, managing to snare all four of them. At this point, the morale of the remaining goblins seemed to fail them, and they fell about hitting each other (a seriously bad series of critical fumbles on the part of the goblins), and our heroes were saved.
In a side-room were three large chests. Stoich checked all of them for traps, finding two; he disabled one of the traps, and picked the lock. The chest was empty. He picked the one he hadn’t found traps on–it was trapped, poisoning him. That chest, too, was empty. Stoich, angry now, failed to disable the final trap, and it stung him. He picked the lock, and found that the last chest was empty as well. Frustrated, our heroes left the level, sneaking carefully past the manticore’s lair, and out of the Delve without meeting anything dangerous.
Our heroes returned to the surface, and rode down to Taril, where they sold some rubies they had found for a fair sum. (Wren cheerfully levelled up, and chose to add web to his spellbook). They rejoined Pollaro at the inn, and prepared to relax.