So here's what went down Wednesday night.
MONGO the Fighter, level 2, and his elven henchmen Rogar and Melzgar
NETAL the Elf, level 1, and his dogs Moe and Bitey
P.W. the Halfling, level 1
GUTBOY BARRELHOUSE the Cleric, level 2, his elven henchman Serlo, and his dogs Rufus and Ruby
The party re-grouped in Chelmsfordshire and prepared for another expedition into the bowels of Mount Rendon. Gutboy met with the few followers he had gathered in the village, and listened to their experiences.
Dirt farmer: "Yeah, we've been digging up lots of these worms and bugs. We rub 'em in our hair, but now I've got a horrible rash."
Gutboy: "No, no, don't rub them in your hair. Bury them, in the dirt."
"We just dug them out of the dirt!"
"They belong in the soil, bringing nourishment to the crops."
"OK, you heard him, boys. Put 'em in the hole!"
That bit of dogma cleared up, the party prepared to head off. Gutboy briefly harassed one of the soldiers of the Unyielding Fist, trying to get him to join the party for a "mission," but the soldier was in no mood to become a deserter. That conversation ended quickly, and the trip to the cave passed uneventfully. The lights were seen in the sky again, shining from several points on the mountain, but they were ignored.
At the cave, they found a dead donkey, still tethered to a tree. It looked like it had died of thirst. Inside the cave were the crates of rations the Scientists had brought, with not too many missing - the Scientists hadn't been eating them.
The party entered the well-lit upper level of the dungeon, and wandered around exploring, and trying to make some sense of their very confusing map. They saw no sign of the missing Scientists, or of anyone who could figure out their map. Despite this setback, they eventually made their way to the staircase that led to the deeper portion of the dungeon. There, at the top of the stairs, was the first sign of the missing Scientists - a severed head with the name "PHIL" tattooed on its forehead.
Mongo considered having it stuffed and mounted for his new apartment, but sadly it was too decomposed. The party left the head, and headed down the stairs into the dark.
They walked through the dark corridors, making their way to the throne room, and Mongo opened the door to the southeast that they had ignored in the past. As soon as he did, two long translucent tendrils swung out at him from above the door, barely missing him. He slammed the door shut, and the party prepared for battle. Arranging themselves in a semi-circle around the door, with missile weapons ready, P.W. then opened the door and ran to the side. Translucent bubble-like spheres floating out the door towards the party, but were shot one-by-one as they entered the throne room. All said and done, a half dozen spheres were pierced and popped. In the room beyond the door were only empty crates and barrels, and clothes racks with rusty wire hangars.
Disappointed, the party went north into the unfinished room. There, the resident earwigs took some notice of Gutboy, but were not acting aggressively. He blessed them in the name of Nisus, and they spun in circles, acknowledging him. Cheered by this sign, the party continued east down the long hall.
They stopped at a side corridor they had not explored. At the end of this short corridor was a stout, reinforced door - and it was locked. P.W. feebly beat at it, slapping with his puny little wrists - but couldn't budge it. Netal and Gutboy likewise pawed and scratched at the door, but their pitiful efforts had no effect. Finally, Mongo gave it a mighty bash, and the door crashed inwards, the lock mechanism tearing out of the door entirely.
Behind the door was a semi-circular chamber, with five smiling, bearded faces carved into the wall, above five niches. Each niche held a small stone bowl, and a slow trickle of multicolored slime ran from the mouths into the bowl. The bowls were nearly full of this slime.
P.W. examined the slime - it was barely moving, and had probably taken months to fill the bowls. He jammed a piece of wood into the slime, and nothing happened. He got a little braver, and stuck his finger into the slime - still nothing. Gutboy took one of the bowls and tried to get one of his dogs to eat it (nice try there), but the dog would have none of it. Finally, P.W. took a swig of the foul stuff, and despite the lousy taste, he found that a hangnail that had been troubling him miraculously healed.
The party quickly emptied flasks of oil and holy water, and filled them with this miracle-slime instead. Full of confidence, they decided to head back to the long hall full of bones that they had found earlier, and explore that.
P.W. confidently entered the throne room, and saw the backside of a hound-like creature with a terrible pyramidal head. The party quickly streamed forward, before the hound-thing noticed them, and they peppered it with arrows. It died quickly and silently. Netal gutted it, looking for treasure it may have eaten, but only found a half-digested humanoid hand.
The rest of the trip to the hall of bones was uneventful. As they marched through the bones, heading southeast, they made a terrible racket. The hall extended for over 80' before they found a narrow corridor on the side - from which they heard terrible screaming, coming closer! The party pulled out their weapons as a horde of blind, fanged screaming freaks swarmed out of the opening, crawling on the walls and the ceiling. The creatures dropped down all around the party, and everyone was suddenly fighting tooth and nail, with no time to unmuzzle the dogs.
The elven henchmen Rogar and Melzgar went down under the teeth and claws of the fiends, and Gutboy's dog Ruby was left unconscious. Netal and Serlo unleashed their powerful sleep spells, and the ten freaks collapsed into slumber - and their throats were quickly slit. There was no time to lose however - more screaming was coming from the narrow tunnel.
Panicking, the party dragged the bleeding elves and the unconscious dog along as they slowly waded through the bones to the exit. They were moving too slowly, however, and the screaming freaks were catching up. In the corridor outside the hall of bones, the party decided to make their stand, and made ready their battle formation.
A half dozen freaks swarmed over, dropping on the dogs. A short battle was fought, and the party slaughtered the creatures without too much more damage. Rogar and Melzgar were nearly dead, but Gutboy used the healing touch of Nisus on one of them, and P.W. poured healing slime down the other's throat, and their bleeding stopped. Mongo gave Rogar some more healing slime, and his wounds disappeared, and he was again ready for action.
P.W. grabbed a torch and decided to head back to see if there was anymore screaming to be heard. He reasoned that the screaming freaks had no eyes, and wouldn't see the torchlight, and he could move far quieter than the rest of the party, being a halfling. It was still a noisy affair wading through the bones, which rose to his waist - but he made his way back to the small side tunnel. He did hear screaming, but it was quieter and more child-like. He returned to the party and told them what he had heard.
Mongo's eyes lit up with murderous glee. "Kill the younglings!" the party exclaimed. The prospect of easy murder was too much to resist, and despite the wounds they had taken, they decided to drive deeper and finish off the screamers. The side tunnel led to a room full of feces and chewed bones, and beyond that into a nesting chamber, where a dozen juvenile screaming freaks sat in a massive piles of silver, playing with the coins, screaming. The party's blades ran red as the screamers were silenced, and the bloodthirsty crew gleefully began stuffing their bags full of the silver.
Weighted down with loot, the party made their way back to Chelmsfordshire, to rest for a while. Sadly, the dog Ruby succumbed to a vile case of dungeon-funk, and Gutboy used the corpse as part of a service to Nisus. "Return her to the earth, so that the body may nourish those that crawl beneath." "Right, boss, toss it in the hole!"
As the elven henchmen drank themselves into a stupor, assisted by rotten-toothed trollops, Gutboy wrote a letter to Head Scientist Gregory - "We have found the head of Phil. We still seek Bob." - and gave it and a gold piece to a young boy who promised to deliver it to Denethix. Certain doubts were expressed that the letter would ever be delivered. Regardless, after a few days of healing, the party dragged their henchmen out of the tavern and headed back to the dungeon.
They made a beeline for the hall of bones, determined to see what lay at the end. Following it another 75' past the side corridor, they found that it ended at a bas-relief sculpture of a tree on the wall, extending from floor to ceiling. 6' up the trunk of the tree was a niche with three metal pins at its bottom - much like those in the cross-shaped room. In front of the tree, was a six foot long, three foot wide, and three foot deep stone box, carved from the same stone as the floor of this hall.
The party recalled the cross-shaped room had similar niches, and headed back there to get the two crude stone skulls that had been in those niches. They quickly made their way to the cross-shaped room, grabbed the stone skulls, and headed back to the hall of bones. As they entered the hall, they saw four yellow-and-red long multilegged creatures, with horns protruding from one end. They looked something like giant walking krullers. P.W. decided to take a pot shot at them, and they turned to attack. A short but fierce battle ensued, and the creatures were taken down, but one of Netal's dogs was injured. Netal sliced the creatures open. Their bodies were made of yellow spongy material, and their was no blood, or any kind of organs inside - although Netal did find a goblin skull embedded in one of the creatures.
Slogging through the bones back to the niche, the party put one of the stone skulls into the niche - nothing happened. Puzzled, they decided to explore further into the dungeon. They made their way to the balcony room were they had been attacked by screaming freaks a few sessions earlier, and left through a door underneath the balcony. This led to a tunnel with a side door - opening this revealed a dusty, empty room, with many footprints leading towards the door they just opened, and just two sets heading back, towards a tunnel in the north wall. The party surmised that the missing Scientists had come that way.
Rather than explore that room any further, they continued following the tunnel, which ended in a door. Opening the door, they found themselves in a vast 30' wide corridor, heading east and west farther than they could see. At 10' intervals along the walls were alcoves with strange and varied contents. P.W. found that he recognized this tunnel and the alcoves - he had been here before, on an earlier disastrous expediition. They went east for a ways, and decided to investigate what was behind a door in an alcove to the south - there was a tunnel beyond, with many branches.
Choosing one branch, they headed west and found a room filled with debris and bits of fungus. The south wall was entirely covered with a thick layer of fungus. Opposite the opening into the room was a door. P.W. bravely went in alone to investigate, but halfway across his foot snagged a tripwire and net weighted with chunks of metal fell on him from the ceiling. The chunks of metal clattered loudly as they hit the floor. The rest of the party whirled around as they heard a door open - a half dozen pale humanoids with shaggy gray hair, sharp teeth, and loincloths were rushing at them. Serlo fired off his sleep spell, and five went down - the party then peppered the last one with arrows, and got busy with the throat-slitting. Mongo surmised that they were Morlocks (nice guess, Mr. H.G. Welles fan).
They then released P.W. from the net, and he noticed that the tripwire ran under the debris, up the wall behind the fungus (where it had been pulled off and carefully replaced), up to the ceiling where the net was hung. He cursed his carelessness, but went to the door on the west wall to see if it squared with what his map predicted - beyond was the many-doored corridor he remembered, and to the south would be the lair of the horrible spider-like creature that had eaten Too's head (and presumably the rest of him).
P.W. closed the door and followed the party back to the door the Morlocks had burst through. Behind it, a stairway led down 10', which filled the party with trepidation - did they want to explore a deeper level? Curiosity getting the best of them, they headed down the stairs and into an empty room.
The party performed a careful search, and Netal found a loose stone in the south wall. Pressing on it, a secret door opened, and they headed south into the room beyond. This secret room had a metal table, metal cabinets, and a metal urn with a wire sticking from the bottom. The cabinets proved to be empty, and the party headed south through a door on the south wall.
This next room was rhombus-shaped, and had a massive table, made of some kind of pressed paper that was peeling apart at the edges. There were many wheeled chairs surrounding the table, but the upholstery was rotting and they were in very poor condition. There were also six oil-fueled brass lamps, on brass posts eight feet tall, with rotted lampshades. Mongo thought they might look nice in his apartment, because they came from a dungeon - who can question that sort of reasoning?
Another door led south from this room, and P.W. leaned against it to listen. He heard some skittling noises from the other side. He swung the door open, sword at the ready, and three four-foot-long beetles rushed at him - they spit streams of liquid at him, burning his skin and causing swelling and blisters. He slammed the door shut, tears in his eyes from the painful chemical burns - but as he did so he did take note of the furnishings of the room beyond - very similar to the one they were in, and there was another door exiting the beetle-infested chamber.
And here our session ended. See you all on Wed March 23rd.