Our last session began on the morning of May 6 in the year 1051 HR. After the very briefest of forays into the basement beneath the ruins of Leng's Tower, your party, consisting at this point of Igmar Houndhaven, Thimble, Pipstrelles, and the hirelings Steng and Doobin Bungbolt, decided to return to Thumbless Jack's in order to reunite with other party members and possibly recruit new adventurers. At Jack's, the party reunited with the fighters Lilith and Goram Ironfist (who apparently had waited out the zombie outbreak upstairs at the inn with a jug of Jack's best gnomish whisky). They also made the acquaintance of a new party member, one Pisspot Jenkins, a greenhorn who had recently decided to strike out upon the adventuring life to see what it had to offer.
After some discussion over hearty bowls of Jack's famous fish chowder, it was decided that it would be best to set out for Witchspyre Hill once again in the hopes of reaping even more and perhaps richer rewards. Before doing so, however, the party decided that some method for safely storing and securing its treasure must be found as it was becoming unwieldy to carry around so much coinage upon your persons. The party hit upon the idea of purchasing a structure in Null's Harbor and using it as a base of operations and a storehouse for its wealth. Thumbless Jack informed you that Steng, the owner of Steng's Brewery owned almost all of the free property in Sorrowside and it would be best to talk with him. Jack did, however, caution you that it was best to tread lightly and use care when dealing with Steng.
This advice proved to be well founded. After arriving at the brewery, you immediately realized that something was amiss. While Steng's was a working brewery,you saw no laborers at work, being greeted instead by six heavily armed thugs. Steng himself soon appeared accompanied by a beautiful, raven haired sorceress or magic user with blue stained hands. You quickly concluded that Steng was no ordinary brewer and that he may be highly placed in the local thieves guild. Negotiations proceeded and Steng suggested that he could sell you a small stone structure near the town's north wall for five hundred gold pieces. After examining the structure, you decided that you were in fact interested and sent Pipistrelles back to negotiate further with Steng and his mysterious blue handed companion.
Upon hearing of your interest, however, Steng became suspicious. How did such a group of neophyte adventurers such as yourselves have the coin to make such a purchase after all? Was it possible that you had returned from some adventure recently and had more riches at your disposal than you were admitting to. Not wishing to pay the tax levied by the guild on such swag, Pipistrelles lied, claiming that this was not true. But when Steng threatened to place him under a charm spell to ascertain the truth, the novice monk began to flounder, fumbling around with his words and finally stammering out that, while it was true that he had not told the whole truth, he had not actually lied.
This double talk did not satisfy the brewer and, after some increased pressure, the monk finally confessed that the party did in fact have a fair amount of wealth in its possession having recently returned from an expedition to Witchspyre Hill. Steng informed the monk that he expected his fair cut of this haul and sent a henchman to invite the rest of the party into the brewery to consider his demand.
It was at this point that things turned very ugly.
Upon hearing Steng's offer, Goram, the dwarven warrior shouted a profane challenge at Steng, drew his axe, and exhorted his comrades to fight. Pipistrelles kicked off the melee, introducing his staff to the skull of one of Steng's henchman and shattering it like a china bowl. Lilith followed suit, disemboweling another foe and spilling his smoking entrails onto the brewery's oak planked floor. Quick thinking Igmar also got in on the action and cast a charm spell upon another henchman. This early success was short lived unfortunately. At this point, one of your own henchman, Steng from Goat's Alley, switched sides declaring that he wanted no part of the fight. This treachery barely had time to register when the mysterious raven haired spell caster raised her blue hands and traced some weird runic shapes in the air before her, bringing a sleep spell down upon all of you and sending you falling into a crushing helpless slumber.
It should be noted that Thimble avoided this fate by quietly stealing away from the melee and fleeing across the burnt patch of Null's Harbor to Maintown.
The rest of you awoke tightly bound in a stone chamber, empty but for a flickering torch, beneath the brewery. Steng soon arrived and did not seem pleased. He informed you that as a price for lying to him and challenging his authority, he was going to take all of your gold (the wealth you had acquired from the recent sale of the great diamond to Jazzle the Jeweler). Furthermore, he expected you to pay a full twenty five percent of all future wealth taken from beneath Witchspyre Hill. Faced with little choice, you accepted his demands. But Steng was not finished. As payment for the loss of his henchmen, he had no choice but to take some your flesh as well. Drawing a dagger from his belt, he sliced off Pipistrelles's ear, sawing through the cartilage with several long strokes and cauterizing the wound with the burning torch. Pisspot Jenkins fared no better, worse perhaps. Annoyed by the neophytes contrary nature and smug back talk, Steng used a set of metal workers tongs to pry Pisspot's mouth open before cutting out his tongue with a pair of tin worker's shears.
Beaten and seething with resentment, you found yourselves released by Steng. You quickly headed back to maintown to meet Thimble, who incidentally had escaped with all of her wealth intact. Given the unfortunate recent turn of events, you all deemed it prudent to leave town as quickly as possible and journey back to the Stony Brow Hills to resume your exploration of the Witchspyre. The journey back to the hills lasted four days but passed without noteworthy incident. The screaming faces carved into the mysterious tower atop the hill loomed menacingly above you as you began the ascent up the steep sided, rocky edifice and, on May 10, you once again descended into the gloomy nether realms that unfold beneath it.
Your party decided to explore a region of dungeon that you had not previously visited. You soon came upon an incredible site, a great hallway, fifty feet wide and lined with granite pillars, its ceiling lost in darkness above. Curiously, the vast corridor was lit by ever burning torches in sconces mounted on the passageway's mighty pillars. Impressed by its magnificence and assuming that such a fabulous corridor must lead somewhere significant, you decided to follow the grand hallway to its terminal destination.
After following it for a short distance, you found that it opened into a large chamber containing a weird and horrific statue of a hermaphroditic naked woman. In addition to an enormous erect phallus, the bizarre artifact also sported a mouthful of fangs and two glittering emeralds for eyes. Unable to resist the lure of treasure, Goram Ironfist pried the emeralds loose from the statue but, in so doing, triggered some arcane sorcery that altered the very fabric of reality and, in a pulsing flash of light, changed his sex from male to female. Stunned by this odd turn of events, you continued to follow the grand hallway along its winding course through the dungeon.
After traveling for an hour or so and passing several side passages and doors along the way, you came upon an ominous sign, a dessicated web shrouded corpse lying in the middle of the great corridor. Not long after this, the party was beset by a pack of gigantic spiders that dropped silently on silken cords from the darkness above. A desperate fight thus ensued in the flickering reddish glow of the torchlight. Goram, Lilith, Pisspot, and Pipistrelles engaged the horrid monstrosities with steel and staff, while Thimble and Igmar engaged at range with bow and spell. While you did manage to fell three of the aberrations, more kept coming, silently and relentlessly, from the darkness above, and the tide quickly turned against you. Goram, Pipistrelles, Pisspot, and Doobin all met horrible fates, falling beneath the cruel, dagger-like and venom filled fangs of the giant spiders. Igmar, Lilith, and Thimble made a desperate and hasty retreat turning their backs upon their fallen comrades and fleeing for their lives. In fact, Thimble, a character who has proven herself to be quite good at escaping, even had to shuck off her backpack and leave over a thousand gold pieces behind in order to make her exit.
The three surviving characters did manage to make their escape and found refuge in some sort of abandoned and forgotten storage room and safely barricaded themselves within. This is where we left off. Once again, the party has been decimated and will undoubtedly need new recruits. This assumes of course that our three survivors can make it back to the surface. Thanks for a fun night of gaming everyone.
Experience: 653 each for Igmar, Lilith, and Thimble
"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.