Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SR49: Penultimate Session – Looting the Copper Mine

This session happened Friday, June 24, 2011, and was the only session I ran this past weekend.

Adventuring Group:
Su Bel (human cleric)
– Dame Yasha of Bereste (Su Bel’s human cavalier cohort)
Tycho von Helmont (elf alchemist)
Agnes Sunbeard (dwarf rogue)
Thorngrim (half-orc sorcerer)
 – Kainen (Thorngrim’s human fighter cohort)
 – Halgrim (Kainen’s stone giant warrior cohort)
Sal Ty (elf wizard) [via Skype]
– Maenwen (Sal’s human wizard cohort)
Alys Kaah (gnome summoner/cavalier) [via Skype]
– Mr. Boodles (Alys’s owlbear-looking eidolon and mount)

Note: the list of player characters is in player sitting order, from my left and then clockwise around the table and then on my laptop via Skype.

“All the mummy, but only half the rot.” ~Tycho von Helmont on alchemical undead

In-game Starting Date: February 25, 23rd Year of King Nikola V
Over the last week, Sal had scouted the Banshee Copper Mine, looking for loot using summoned earth elementals.  He failed.  As a result, he had to go to Agnes, hat in hand, and ask for her assistance in finding “the banshee’s loot”.  Now he had confirmed the existence of a couple of copper seams in the mine, but no gold coins or other valuables and he could not accept that none existed.

Agnes agreed to go explore the mine, but only if the rest of the group went as well as they had found very dangerous things in the mine.  Sal conceded this point – he hated to face danger if he could have put a meatshield, er, combat specialist between himself and the danger.

Once the available adventurers were assembled (Xin had gone to Westcastle Crossing to get spell reagents and took Mog as a bodyguard), Sal cast mass reduce person on everyone else, picked them up, and then cast teleport on himself to move the entire group to the entrance of the Banshee Copper Mine.  [He had studied the area on previous trips.]

The group entered the mine, following Thorngrim’s sketch map of the mine.  They descended to the third level of the mine and re-checked the bone chamber, where Agnes had previously found a bag of gold coins.  This was done at Sal’s insistence and there may have been some rolled eyes, but the room was professionally searched.  Nothing new was found.

After this, the group decided to descend to the bottom of the main shaft.  They found two tunnels leading away and that the level was flooded with three feet of water.  This was problematic for Agnes (3 ft, 8 in) and Alys if she wanted to dismount from Mr. Boodles.  Sal, Maenwen, and Thorngrim pool their magic and cast waterbreathing on every member of the party, then the group climbed down to the bottom of the shaft.

The group followed the tunnel to the right, which led up a ramp (and out of the water) and to another shaft.  This shaft was about 30 ft across and extended up and down a level.  The walls were much more natural in appearance and seemed to be a natural formation that the miners took advantage of.  There were two tunnels branching off at this level, one on the level above, and two down at the bottom.

The tunnel to the left ended at a suspiciously warm wall and Sal sent an earth elemental to find out why it was warm.  The adventurers were supposing the red dragon, but the elemental reported a lava tube instead.  Backtracking to the new shaft, they followed the other tunnel and ran into a gibbering mouther at the end of the tunnel.  The combined firepower of the adventurers destroyed it before the mouther could attack.

Rather than descend any further, the group backtracked all the way back to the third level of the main shaft and followed a different tunnel to the west.  They discovered that the tunnel breaks into a more natural underground passage that extended two directions until they were out of sight.  After following it one direction for an hour and finding nothing but more tunnel, this seemed to be part of the underworld and not part of the mine at all.  The adventurers tracked back and decided to finish exploring the mine.  They went to the second shaft and investigated the tunnels at the bottom of that [roughly level 5 of the mine], but discovered that these tunnels had been just started when things apparently went bad in the mine.  Going to the top of this shaft, they followed the single tunnel there and found their way back to the main shaft.

At this point, the group descended to the flooded bottom of the main shaft and followed the remaining tunnel.  This tunnel had a y-intersection and the group followed the right fork, which ended at a wooden wall with a door.  Agnes also noticed that the supports for the last 30 ft of the tunnel were rigged to easily collapse the tunnel.  Curious, the adventurers investigated the wooden wall and door.  The wood was swollen with the water pressing against it and quite stout.  Not certain what was on the other side and it being late in the day, the adventurers decided to fall back to the workroom on the second level to camp.

The next morning, the adventurers returned to the flooded fourth level and the wooden wall.  After Agnes checked and cleared the door of traps, Kainen was brought forward and forced the door open, pushing against the flow of water into the next chamber, a chamber that was extremely warm and lit with an orange-red light.  After watching the water quickly flow for a moment or two, Thorngrim cast wall of stone to create a low wall to stop the flow of water, just as the cold water that had flowed through reached the lava pool in the next room and flashed to steam!

The instant geyser filled the chamber and started blasting back up the tunnel.  The adventurers dove into the remaining water, some making it, some not [Halfgrim amongst the “not” category due to size].  Those who did not make it in time were scalded with the boiling steam before getting under the water surface.  Not knowing how long the geyser would last and having neglected to cast waterbreathing this day, Thorngrim cast a silent version of wall of stone, sealing off the tunnel and stopping the geyser.  This saved Halfgrim’s life.  Gasping for air, the rest of the adventurers surfaced and Su Bel set to healing everyone (including herself).

The adventurers returned to the second level of the main shaft and follow the last unexplored tunnel.  After making their way past a room covered with thousands of crystals, the adventurers found the end of the tunnel, an apparent dead-end.  Looking around, Agnes noticed that the cart track stopper had an additional mechanism hidden in it.  Showing Thorngrim how to activate the mechanism, the group moved back.  Thorngrim reach with his rubbery long arms and tripped the mechanism.

This caused the end 10 ft of the cart tracks and the floor under the tracks to angle down, exposing a low-ceilinged small chamber with three chests and a pile of something covered with a tarp.  Agnes crept forward and investigated.  The tarp covered a stack of platinum ingots.  The chests contained gold coins, valuable gems, an endless decanter, the broken remains of many potion bottles, and a scroll tube.  Only one of the potions was still good – a potion of stone giant control.  [Convenient, no?]  The scroll tube contained a mostly complete map of the entire mine (it didn’t show the starter tunnels on the fifth level).

The group spent another hour checking the accuracy of the map before camping for the night.  In the morning they decided it was time to return to Drop-off Keep.  Sal cast mass reduce person and teleported everyone back.

*End of session*

[This is the second to last session for the campaign.  The finale will be next week and will be the attack on the red dragon.  I think the PCs have a good chance of winning a tough fight, but if they don’t, that will definitely effect the landscape of the next campaign set here.  I’m looking forward to see what happens.

Between sessions I granted the characters 2 levels, putting most of the party at 12th level.  I did this as the campaign is getting close to the end and I want the characters to do the coolest things they can these last two sessions.  I originally wanted to run the campaign until the PCs reached 15th level, but there is a good ending here and I’m ready to end this story and move on to the next one.  Adding two levels now gets the characters closer to the endpoint I originally sold to the players and should allow a cool final battle.

Finally, after the campaign ends, I’m going to drop using Skype to bring in remote players.  For a mixed group of some here some remote, it isn’t working anywhere near where I want it to be.  I’ll post a more detailed posting on this later.]

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