Our second session began on April 26, with your party hundreds of feet below the surface of Witchspire Hill, peering into the monster-haunted gloom of the under passages that have appeared there so recently. Over the course of the next three days, you cautiously and methodically continued your exploration of the vast labyrinth searching for hidden treasure and attempting to make sense of the enigmatic structure.
Thus far, the dungeon has been reluctant to give up its secrets. Undead seem to predominate, though other vermin like monstrous centipedes, rats, and stirges appear to be in abundance as well. The complex also contains a variety of traps in the form of pits and dead falls, as was discovered by the much missed fighting man , "Murder," who had the misfortune of tumbling headlong into one such engine of death. The party did discover evidence that there may be more intelligent inhabitants of the under-realm as well. The corpse of a bipedal, toad like humanoid, clad in chain mail and a scarlet cloak was found, for instance. The identity, or even species, of this mysterious individual has yet to be determined.
The party also managed to translate the curious red leather bound book recovered from the upper tower, learning that it was a treatise entitled "A Theory of Gateways and Inter-Planar Rifts" authored by some one named Judge Ofic Gundap. The book was written in an unknown language.
As the exploration continued, even more curiosities began to be found. Perhaps one of the most baffling came in the form of an immensely long corridor lined with niches containing busts of humanoid heads. No two busts were the same and seemed to depict unique individuals, each rendered in exquisite detail. As if this were not strange enough, you noticed that one of these busts portrayed the startled visage of none other than Raylene Marybegotten, a former member of your party who you had seen slain before your very eyes just days before.
But on the morning of April 28, you discovered at the end of this hall of heads what was perhaps the dungeon's most memorable horror thus far. An enormous diamond hung suspended in mid air atop an elaborately carved pedestal bearing a sculpture of a leering, laughing devil. Before the pedestal, the floor bore an intricate, but scorched, sunburst pattern. When you approached the pedestal, the devil sculpture animated and claimed the diamond to be shield by a magical force field. In order to lower the field and recover the diamond, it told you, a single individual must stand in the sunburst and answer three riddles, the condition being that only the one in the sunburst may answer. Silas the Magic User bravely stepped forward, uttered a few obscenities, entered the sunburst, and listened to the animate sculpture recite its first riddle. Unfortunately for Silas, Bella the Monk, overcome with excitement that she knew the answer, blurted out a response to the riddle. The party then learned the consequences for answering out of turn as they looked on in horror as Silas was engulfed in a pillar of blinding flame; his screams of agony echoed down the long corridors of Witchspire Hill as his flesh melted from his bones and his eyeballs poached like eggs in his skull.
In response to this hasty outburst, Zizek the Magic User seized Bella and shoved her into the sunburst, demanding that she too answer a riddle. But while Bella knew the answer to the first of the statue's riddles, she failed to answer its second and thus found herself consigned to the same terrifyingly fiery death as Silas. At this point, some among you raised the possibility of leaving this puzzle trap behind and cutting your losses. But the lure of the fabulous diamond, hanging glittering in the air before you, proved too tempting to ignore and you pressed on with the perverse and deadly game. Thus began a grim procession as two more characters - Chalice, priestess of Veccna, and the much loved Brother Coin - entered the dreaded sunburst only to be immolated as those who had gone before had been. Spirits began to sink as the corridor filled with filthy smoke and the nauseating smell of burned flesh and rendered fat until, at last,Goram the dwarven fighter stepped forward and answered the statue's final question thereby releasing the diamond.
This is where we left off. In order to reap full xp for the gem, you must of course return with to civilization, but you are of course under no compulsion to do so.
"Common, standard hirelings are basically the usual craftsmen or laborers taken on by lower level player characters...In general the various occupations represented here are common to most settlements of village-size and above, although each and every village will not be likely to furnish each and every sort of common hireling." (ad&d "Dungeon Master's Guide", 1979) p. 28.
A careful (and at times even overly analytic) exploration of the traditions of "old school" fantasy roleplaying by two former d&d apostates who have recently returned to the game's roots. All advice and any suggestion is welcome.
Expect a particular focus on the retro-clone of OD&D, Swords & Wizardry as well as the occasional session recap from ongoing games. In our games we steal unabashedly from the great OD&D blogs linked to below.