Netal the Elf (2), and his enraged pit-bull Sweetiepie
Gutboy Barrellhouse the Cleric (3), his dog Rufus, and his henchman Serlo the Elf
Mongo the Fighter (2), and his henchmen Leroy Brown the Cleric and Jimgar the Elf
Richard "Dick" Dock the Thief (1), and his baby grunkie Bunkie
It was a fine morning, as Netal woke to find no cursed mirrors and no dead hobos draped across him. He headed off to the Street of Students to find his fellow explorers Gutboy and Mongo. Heading up to their apartment, he passed a pair of girls, one homely and one beautiful, getting ready for a job - but there was no time to stop and chat. Straight up to his friends' apartment he went.
A brief discussion was held, and plans were made. They needed some muscle if they were going to lift one of those giant pillbugs out of the cavern using ropes. Then there was much discussion about finding giant bugs in a much safer way, by purchasing already-captured giant insects.
Off they went, meeting Dick Dock on the way. Once they arrived at the Street, they accosted a slaver in a green mask, leading a few branded slaves around on leashes. The conversation immediately leapt off the rails.
Dick: "So, how do I become a pit fighter?"
Slaver: "I'm sorry... you want to become a slave?"
Dick: "I want to fight something!"
Slaver: "A pit fighter? Well, sure, I'd be glad to buy you. You look like a scrappy sort. Your family will do well with the money I'll pay!"
Dick: "How much money?"
Slaver: "Oh, we'll say 100 gp. That will feed them for quite some time, yes?"
Dick: "And how do I buy my freedom back?"
Slaver: "What? Why would anyone free a slave? What are you talking about?"
Dick: "Never mind. Where can I go for pit fighting? Do they fight animals?"
Slaver: "Uhhh... sometimes. It's more interesting for the pit fighters to fight each other, though"
Dick: "Any giant bugs?"
Slaver: "No, of course not. That's not very exotic. Occasionally a velociraptor, but not bugs."
Dismayed, the party decided to harass the animal vendors of the Bazaar Incomparable once more, hoping against hope that giant bug vendors had set up shop. Off to the Bazaar they went, and straight to the nearest animal vendor.
Gutboy: "Hello! I'm looking for a large insect..."
Vendor: "Yes, you were here last week. I don't have any."
Gutboy: "Do you know where..."
Gutboy: "Do you know any..."
Vendor: "No. I still don't know. Please, do you have any real business? Perhaps you'd like to buy a baby grunkie?"
Dick: "Wait, a grunkie? Are they dangerous?"
Vendor: "Of course not! They're fantastic pets when they're babies! Wonderful and adoring!"
Dick: "When they're babies?"
Vendor: "Well, a bit aggressive when they get older. Just flush them down the toilet, though, and get a new one. Only one gold piece!"
Dick, entranced by the six-inch tall cross between a lizard and a monkey, forked over a gold, and then another gold piece for a tiny red fez and little red vest. Naming the creature Bunkie the Grunkie, he began a futile attempt to teach it to pick locks.
As Dick played with his grunkie, Gutboy began searching for any shop that would sell drugs. Drugs that would put things to sleep. He led the party around in circles, finally stumbling upon a tent with a promising sign: "Mind Spices of the Lanthanide Wastes." Several shelves were lined with jars of a brown vegetable-substance, and an old man with a long flowing beard welcomed them in.
Old man: "Ahhh, customers! Come for the Mind Spices, I see!"
Gutboy: "Mind spices? What do they do?"
Old man: "They bring the most wonderful ecstasies! They let a man project his mind into the unseen dimensions. Oh, the sights you will see!"
Gutboy: "We're actually looking for a drug to make things sleep"
Old man: "Ahh, you are in luck today, sir! The mind spices will grant visions of the far realms, but they also leave a man completely comatose"
Gutboy: "Great! How much are they?"
Old man: "Only 800 gp for a jar"
Gutboy: "Ohhhhh. And how many men will that make sleep?"
Old man: "Oh, one man. He must eat all the spices in the jar"
Gutboy: "Eat? Oh. Well. And how much for a bug that's 10' long and 5' tall, weighing 2000 pounds?"
Old man: "Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! All the spices in this tent!"
Realizing they didn't have nearly enough money to purchase the mind spices required, they tried another tack:
Netal: "Where do these come from?"
Old man: "The Lanthanide Wastes. It's right on the sign, Mind Spices of the Lanthanide Wastes. You know, with the horrible insect men and the giant Fusillade Beetles"
Netal: "How do we get there? Can we get these spices?"
Old man: "Yes, they are in a desert, far to the south. If you're going to go spice hunting, I will gladly purchase any that you harvest"
But the short and brutal life of a spice prospector was not for them - they had deadlines to keep, and giant bugs to subdue in the dungeon. They continued hunting around the bazaar, looking for drug dealers - and eventually came upon a sign reading "Gases of the Forbidden Vale", hanging over the entrance to another tent. Inside were shelves filled with Mason jars, each tinted a different color. The vendor here was another old man, with a beard sculpted into twirling shapes. He was semi-transparent, which did not seem to bother the party in the least.
Mongo: "We need drug to put things to sleep"
Transparent vendor: "Well! What a surprise! It just so happens that I've got a jar of gas that will do that. It's miserable stuff, doesn't bring any ecstasies at all, just puts the man who breathes it into a deep and unwaking slumber. I've got enough to put twenty men to sleep. It was just brought to me this morning by a man who wasn't really here."
Gutboy: "A man who wasn't really here? What does that mean?"
Transparent vendor: "Ahh, you haven't partaken of the gases yet. You can't know until you do. It won't make sense."
Netal: "How much for the gas?"
Vendor (bringing out a large mason jar, tinted pink): "400 gp. You won't be disappointed"
Dick: "Do you have any other gases?"
Vendor (pointing to a small jar of glowing neon green): "Why yes, this will transport you to the rings of Saturn. Absolutely beautiful! The ice crystals glimmer like diamonds! Partially transport you, of course. Not all of you!"
Gutboy: "Saturn? No thanks. What's your cheapest gas?"
Vendor: "Well, yes, I've got some Brown Jenkins here, that's very cheap"
Dick: "Will co-eds use it?"
Vendor: "I don't see why not..."
Netal: "No. We don't want that."
Vendor: "Of course not! It's not from the Forbidden Vale, it's just the cheap stuff... you want the real deal. Perhaps an entry-level gas? This one will bring mild ecstasies..."
Gutboy: "Do you have any gas that will make people obey you? Do stuff you want them to do?"
Vendor: "Ahhh. No, no gases to do that. That's not what the gases do. What you want is the Vermillion Nudibranch of Diminished Inhibition. They come from the river, wonderful creatures! I know a man on the Street of Lesser Men who can sell you this, just tell him I sent you. His name is Swifty, here's his address..."
Dick: "Will co-eds eat it?"
Vendor: "It's possible..."
Netal purchased the jar of pink gas, and the party rounded up their henchmen from the various bars, flophouses, and brothels that they were known to frequent. A pig was purchased as a bribe to the Morlocks, and the party set forth to the dungeon.
In the woods between the city and the slopes of Mount Rendon, the party ran into a group of four goblins. Startled, but not hostile, the two groups eyed each other.
Dick: "Can any of you speak our language?"
Goblin: "Yeah, hello. We not hunting people, just walking, really."
Dick: "You interested in gold?"
Goblin: "Yeah, sure, gold, give gold"
Dick: "You come lift stuff, we give gold"
Goblin: "No, gold now, we come lift"
Gutboy: "Where did you come from?"
Goblin: "Come off tree, no goblin around, we go walking, start new tribe"
Gutboy: "What? Off a tree? That makes no sense"
Goblin: "We come out of sack, on tree! Stupid human! No goblins around, we start new tribe"
There was a brief argument about whether to hire or kill the goblins. The goblins decided this job opportunity wasn't worth the effort or risk, and marched off in disgust. "Stupid humans!"
The remainder of the journey passed uneventfully, and the party entered the dungeon. They safely made their way through the dusty, deserted corridors to the lair of the Morlocks. They knocked on the door.
Morlock: "Ahh, mongos back!"
Mongo: "We bring pig!"
Morlock: "Great! Pig! I take, good-bye!"
Gutboy: "Wait! We need help"
Morlock: "What you want?"
Gutboy: "You hunt those bugs in the cavern? How do you get them up the well?"
Morlock: "Throw many spears at bug, it roll into ball. Then roll ball to well, tie rope, and pull up"
Gutboy: "And it's still alive when it rolls into a ball?"
Morlock: "Yes, taste more delicious that way!"
Gutboy: "Are there any other entrances to the cavern?"
Morlock: "Don't know. Go down well, is safest. No bad painted men"
Mongo: "Are there other ways into the cavern?"
Morlock: "Yes, you go north, see other big cave, lizard monsters. Very bad! Go west or south, see doorways"
Gutboy: "We need help getting the bug up after we catch it. Will you help?"
Morlock: "Me check with chief"
The negotations for help hauling the bug took some time, but eventually a promise of four pigs was accepted for help in lifting a bug up out of the well. The morlock told the party to come back when they had the bug ready - the Morlocks are busy people, and don't have time to stand around staring at wells.
Ropes were tied and lowered down the well again - and the intrepid four descended, leaving henchmen and dogs waiting at the mouth of the well. They descended to the bottom, and began walking along the western edge of the cavern, heading south, hoping to find a set of stairs leading upwards so they could avoid the hassle of the well.
The passed by the strange pit they had sighted earlier, that ended after 20' in a gray void. Mongo tied an iron spike to the end of a rope and lowered it down - he could clearly see the spike below dangling in the gray void, so whatever the gray was, it wasn't fog. He then retrieved the spike, untied it, and tossed it in. It fell silently, until it grew so small that it could no longer be seen.
Unnerved, the party decided to press on and save the gray pit for another day. They came to a corridor cut into the west wall of the cavern. Entering cautiously, the party found a 30' square room, with a door at the opposite end - and eight zombies, with knives protruding from their eye sockets and their wrists. Gutboy presented his holy symbol of Nisus, but either his faith was weak or Nisus was angry with him, and the zombies swarmed him, slashing with their wrist-blades. Mongo, Netal, and Dick ran for their lives out of the room, and Gutboy quickly followed, bleeding from several knife wounds. Fortunately, the zombies did not pursue, and Gutboy's fervent prayers caused his wounds to partially close.
Heading south along the cavern wall again, they found another tunnel, heading south. Netal led the way into this room - the walls were carved with bas-relief images, each having a title underneath:
- An empty frame, except for these words carved at the bottom: “The Last Underlord, Whose Rule Is Yet To Come.”
- A goblin in armor, attended by robed, man-sized goblinoids with swollen heads. These words are carved beneath: “Uligub, Lord of the Labyrinth. His mind lives still.”
- Three robed bearded men of advanced age. The first man holds a loaf of bread, the second has a belt around his waist from which dangle severed hands, and the third is cutting through his robe and abdomen to reveal his bowels. The image is titled: “The November Gentlemen. Living or dead, all kneeled before them. Devoured by darkness, they shall not return.”
- A spider in a vast webbed hall. It is titled: “Morguilos, Spinner of Lies. Fire burned lie and spider alike.”
- A section carved with skulls. Below the skulls are carved the words “The Treasures of the Underlords.”
- A man-shaped figure made of spikes and blades, surrounded by corpses. The words carved below it read: “The Blade of Kharg. He slew all who fought with sword, but was laid low by the song of Lem.”
Dick decided to try out some of his fancy thieving skills, and adeptly climbed the skulls. After perching at the top of the bas-relief and looking at the top of his fellows' heads, he climbed back down and began searching the room for potential traps and secret doors. Netal and Gutboy joined in - and Gutboy noticed a gap in the stone surrounding the exposed entrails of one of the November Gentlemen.
Dick placed Bunkie the Grunkie upon the entrails, but the six inch creature just clung to the stone. Dick put the grunkie back on his shoulder, and tried pulling the entrails - nothing happened. He gave the entrails a push, and something did happen - the north wall became lit up with colorful circles of light, slowly changing color from blue to green and back again. Looking around, the party saw that the eye-holes of the sculpted skulls had opened, and a light was shining from behind them. Dick released the entrails, and the eye-holes snicked shut.
Deciding to leave the mystery of the lights alone for a while, Mongo led the party west into another chamber. This one had a latticework of silver rods in its center, supporting a glass jar. Five of the silver rods terminated inside the jar - the rest wrapped around it, surrounding it. The jar was otherwise empty.
Another mystery - but Gutboy called for focus - there was mission, and that was to capture a giant bug! Further exploration was abandoned, and the party returned to the cavern, and headed towards the giant pillbug herds.
For the first foray against the pillbugs, the four adventurers were sighted as they approached, and six bull pillbugs charged at them, chasing them into the jungle. Mongo took a horn to the gut, but eventually the pillbugs gave up the chase.
Second foray: the party snuck up to the pillbugs, and Mongo shot his crossbow at the closest. The shot was true, and the bolt sank up to its fletching between segments of the pillbugs armor. It immediately rolled itself into a ball. The rest of the pillbugs took no notice. Having no idea how to safely roll the pillbug away from the herd now that it was a ball, the party retreated.
Third foray: Netal, Dick, and Gutboy stood behind the marble building in the center of the cavern, while Mongo snuck up on the herd. Mongo then began throwing rocks and jumping up and down. Four bull pillbugs became enraged, and chased after Mongo, who led them by the party's hiding place. Netal cast sleep upon the bugs as they ran by, and all but one fell asleep. Mongo ran around in circles til the last pillbug gave up the chase, while Gutboy took the jar of sleeping gas, held his breath, and opened it underneath the head of one of the sleeping pillbugs. The sleeping bug inhaled the pink gas entirely.
So this session ends with the adventurers having (presumably) successfully incapacitated a live giant pillbug. Next session is in one week, Wednesday September 14th.