Netal the Elf (2)
Mongo the Fighter (2)
Gutboy the Cleric (3) and his henchman, Trezgar the Elf (1)
George P. Burdell the Magic-User (1) and his henchman, Brad the Fighter (1)
Netal, Mongo, and Gutboy gathered at the apartment, almost completely broke, except for the money they had stolen from the Ropers' apartment. Their heretofore-unmentioned neighbor, George P. Burdell, wandered over to say "Hi" and without any discussion was welcomed as their bosom companion.
George wandered off to the quad at the Academy of Elevated Thought to find a traveling companion. He spotted a calvinball game in progress, and hung around until the match ended.
George: Dear sir, that was quite a game. Do you know the rules to calvinball?
Brad: Uhh... I kicked the ball and it went into the net!
George: Very good. How are your studies going along?
Brad: Oh yeah, the Academy lets me stay when I kick the ball into the net! I'm really good!
George: Sounds like you could use a bit of tutoring. I'd like to help you
Brad: That's great! How much will that cost? I've got beer! You like beer?
George: I was thinking you could help me out in exchange. What's your name?
Brad: I'm Brad! I kicked the ball into the net!
So, George had found himself both a henchman and lackwit student to tutor.
In the meantime, Gutboy traveled back to Leafy Green's Salad Bar and found a pair of dowdy elves.
Gutboy: Say, are either of you looking for a life of riches and adventure?
Trezgar: Why yes, I was thinking of joining Slezgar's Excellent Elven Edventurers. They're quite the capable crew!
Gutboy: Slezgar? Why, he used to be my henchman! I taught him everything he knows!
Trezgar: Well, sign me up!
Henchman acquired, the party spent its few remaining resources on equipping the pair of new hires, bought a few extra shotgun shells for Netal's stolen weapon, and headed to Chelmsfordshire. Gutboy eyed the bucolic farms they passed, wondering how much loot he could get through a life of brigandry, but eventually decided that dungeon delving would be more practical.
Once in Chelmsfordshire, they saw that a second booth had been erected next to Fitzy's Dungeoneering Supplies. Gutboy peered in, and saw a familiar face - his former henchman, Slezgar! Apparently the adventuring life agreed with him - he was wearing a silver circlet with a single emerald upon his head. The same circlet they had last seen on the morlock chieftain's head, in fact.
Gutboy: Slezgar! What are you doing here?
Slezgar: We'll be auditioning henchman in another hour. You can come back then.
Gutboy: Slezgar, it's me Gutboy, your former boss!
Slezgar: Oh, right. Well, how have you been? (grabbing a raw hamhock and taking a bloody bite out of it)
Gutboy: What are you doing ?!?
Slezgar: (surprised) Oh... that! Right! Ummm... that's an elven tradition. It's an elf thing. Perfectly normal.
Netal: No it's not.
Slezgar: Maybe not in your tribe. It's a tribal thing. Never mind! Why are you here? Decided to become torchbearers?
Gutboy: We were thinking maybe we could team up
Slezgar: Ha! Don't think so. This is an elf-only crew. Except for the henchmen. Elves are where it's at! Hey you (pointing at Trezgar) you want to join up? Ditch these guys, they suck!
Mongo (grabbing Slezgar by the throat): What are you doing in our dungeon?
Slezgar (pulling his hand away): Now now, if you're not going to hold our torches, I think you should move along. Bye, good luck, bye, see you later...
The party considered violence, but the large numbers of Unyielding Fist soldiers walking through the town dissuaded them. They spent the night on the floor of the local tavern, and made their way to the dungeon the next morning.
Once inside, they made a beeline towards the Morlock lair. The morlocks had all been slaughtered, and the place was fairly well looted. Only the following was found:
a. Three creep morlock-hides hanging on pegs. The hides were twitching and wiggling. Attempts to burn them with torches had little effect beyond scorching the hides.
b. A stoppered clay bottle hidden under some ratty furs, that Slezgar's crew must have missed
c. A storeroom full of water barrels, metal bars, and 200' of sinew-rope
The party took the clay bottle, left the rest, and headed down to the second level. Once there, they proceeded southwest from the room with eight exits, and made their way back to the hexagonal-shaped chamber with an unexplored door. Passing through it, they found themselves in an octagonal chamber, with a strange device on the north wall, and a sign on the south wall reading "Please visit us in our new office! Just moments from the Plastic Tombs!"
The device consisted of a leather chair, with stainless steel straps at the ankle, arm, and neck positions. Above it, protruding from the wall, was an armature covered with drills, saws, and pincers. Next to this was a stainless steel locked cabinet, with a dial on the side. The dial had an "Off" position, and positions numbered one through ten.
They had Brad pry the cabinet open, and George stood to the side and opened the doors with a 10' pole, while Brad looked inside. He whitened in fear, and quickly looked away. "Hey guys! I read about these in Mythology 101! There's a head covered with snake hair, in a jar! And a bunch of other heads!"
The party quickly realized that this must be a medusa's head. They gave Brad a sack, and he pushed the jar in without looking at it. Fluids splashed through the porous bag, but the head was safely bagged. They then took an inventory of the other heads - a few empty jars, a few human heads, and several monster heads were present. There was also a sliding hatch in the top of the cabinet - opening it only revealed a view of the ceiling.
Mongo turned the dial to "1", and a light above the dial turned red. Trying the other numbers, he found the same behavior. He turned the dial to "Off", plopped a few heads onto the chair, and turned it to "1" again. The armature moved to neck-level (if there had been a person strapped in the chair), began sawing away at nothing, reached pincers into the cabinet, came back with nothing, and sawed and drilled a bit more. The party decided that this must be some sort of decapitation machine of the Painted Men, and vowed to destroy those evil clowns.
They moved on to the next room to the west. This chamber had four savage-looking dog statues mounted on pedastals, facing each other, in the center of the room. Their mouths slowly dripped a black liquid onto the ground, and wires from inside their mouths suspended a glass sphere between them. The sphere contained something small and metallic flitting about, but the party was too nervous to approach.
Mongo extended his retractible pole, and pressed down on the wires and sphere from 20' away. The hounds spat out flame in a good-sized fireball, but the sphere remained unharmed. He tried this trick a few more times, and decided to smash the sphere with the pole. There was another fireball as the wires were disturbed, and the small metallic flying thing, released from the sphere, began heading towards Mongo. As it got closer, Mongo saw that it was a mechanical hummingbird. He reached out with his hand, trying to grab it - it was incredibly easy, as the hummingbird flew directly into his hand. And then tried jamming its proboscis into his palm, but it hit a bit of metal on his gauntlet, and the fluid it was trying to inject dribbled down his arm with no effect. The thing, its payload of poison exhausted, continued to stab fruitlessly at Mongo, until he smashed it with a loud CLAP.
The next room after this had four humanoid figures standing in its corners, each draped in nets of silver coins tied together with wire. Mongo approached the figures, and tried looking between the coins to see what was underneath - he had a vague impression of some sort of metal skeleton or automaton beneath. When he tried parting the coins with his dagger, all four came to life, and began attacking. There was a brief fight, wherein Gutboy paralyzed three with his hold person spell, and Netal blasted the fourth with his double-barreled shotgun, and once the machines were dispatched the party found that they were in possession of 20,000 silver coins.
Encumbered with treasure, the party decided to press on further. They had a choice of directions from this room, and first went south down a long corridor, finding a room with a checkerboard pattern of red and black squares on the floor. Each square had an inch-wide hole in the middle of it.
Mongo pressed down on a red square with his pole, and nothing happened. He then pressed down on a black square, and nothing happened. Then a different red square, nothing, and another black, and nothing. He then had Netal press down on a square simultaneously - they found that sometimes one of the squares would shoot up a jet of flame, and sometimes not. They couldn't make any sense of it. Mongo started going along pressing in order, red, black, red, black, red, black, then the next row, red, black, red, black, etc, but none of them fired. With no confidence in how the trap mechanism was triggered, they decided to abandon this room and backtrack to the coin-automaton room, and try a different direction from there.
The other door from the coin-automaton room was made of stainless steel. When they peered in, they saw a long room with another stainless steel door on the opposite side. There were six levers, in the "up" position, against the south wall, and a niche on the north wall with a sign in it. The lettering on the sign was incredibly small, and there was no way anyone could read it without walking right up to it.
George decided to be bold, and walked into the room. The rest of the party stood outside, watching from the other side of the door. When George reached the alcove, the stainless steel doors suddenly swung shut and locked, leaving George trapped inside, while the rest of the party waited outside.
George heard a noise behind, and turned to see the levers going down, one at a time, seemingly at random. After the last lever had gone down, he walked over, and started pushing the levers up in the reverse order. The first two levers he remembered, and they pushed up with no ill effect. He misremembered the third lever, and the floor sprung open in two spots, releasing ten skeletons into the room.
The rest of the party listened to the screams for a while, and when they ended they decided it was time to head home. They encountered a half-dozen survivors of the morlock colony on the way back, who shouted "Mongos betray us! Mongos kill morlocks! Die all mongos!" A simple sleep spell was all it took to end that threat, and the morlocks were no more. Gutboy was briefly dismayed to see that their supposedly good friend Bilibub was among the slain, but he got over it.
Back to Denethix they went, to divvy up the spoils, mourn their lost comrade, and plot revenge on Slezgar for having the temerity to take the treasure they had ignored for so long.
Gains: 20,000 sp, clay bottle, medusa's head
Kills: 4 coin automatons, 6 morlocks