Wednesday, August 5, 2009

One Night In The Caves

This part of the adventure took place as a one-shot all-nighter. Ross was not present, so Meatwad was left behind to guard the animals, and some of the NPCs were sent in, so that they could gain some experience. The game went from 8PM until 3AM, when I had to take Cassandra to work. It was good to have the session, but I'm getting too old for these sorts of things.

The party woke up the following morning to find that Hren and Charles had returned some time in the night with a deer, which Hren had bagged and Charles had skinned and crudely butchered. Hren was pleased with herself, as this was the first thing she had ever killed. Hinda and Meghan cooked the beasts, and after breakfast, the adventurers discussed what to do about the caves, and whether or not to return to town.

Alaric, for his part, was eager to return to Long Lake to resupply and possibly purchase excavation equipment and hire more hands. He firmly believed that the flooded areas of the caverns were where the richest veins were, and that diverting the water would allow the party to mine the area quickly. None of the guards cared very much what was decided, since they were getting paid to guard a wagon and mules, and the pay was the same no matter what the wagon and the mules were doing.

Hinda was ready to return to town, wanting to begin setting up a relationship with the clerics of Borderville. She felt that the risks involved in exploring the caves had become great enough that the party might need more divine assistance. Meghan was eager to reenter the caves and kill the creatures that lay within, wishing to prove her might as a warrior, and to view the abilities of the men for breeding purposes.

In the end, the decision came down to Wahleed. The Shi'ar was interested in further exploration of the flooded caverns, with an eye on draining them into the tomb they has explored the previous day. For that to happen, they would need some understanding of how much water needed to be diverted, and if there was anything else in the caves that needed their attention before it could be done safely.

For this expedition, the party reorganized itself, with an eye toward defensive ranged battle. The Shaft Wights they had been fighting in that area were dangerous in melee, far more so than the party could withstand on equal terms. The expedition left Meatwad behind to supervise the guard detachment (since the shooting of Alaric proved some supervision was probably necessary). In his place, the party took Hren and Marko, the ranger armed with a longbow, and the guard with his heavy crossbow. The added ranged power would, Wahleed hoped, provide them with much-needed support against any shaft wights.

Upon returning to the caves, the party found the flooded cavern deserted, save for the corpses from the previous fight. Not wanting to risk bumbling into creatures, Wahleed sent Jambi, his gen into the water to investigate. The genie returned with reports of more wights, as well as two purple creatures that were unfamiliar to it. Wahleed decided to have a look at the creatures himself, and told the rest of the party to prepare for a fight here, as he would try to lead whatever creatures he encountered back to this place. With his trusty gen at his side, Wahleed dove into the dark water and, using a coin with a light spell on it, explored one of the three openings under the waterline that led from the flooded chamber.

The opening he chose brought him to a partially-flooded cavern covered in luminescent fungus. There were signs of mining in the cavern, as well as evidence of a copper vein that had been partially exploited. Using Jambi as a distraction to lure the creatures back into the flooded area (and so back to the party), Wahleed made a break for the cavern entrance.

He arrived just before the Shaft Wights did.

The battle was pitched and furious. The only saving grace for the adventurers was that the five wights came in a staggered procession, allowing them to concentrate fire. Even so, it was a close call. Wahleed, despite his cunning use of defensive magics, narrowly escaped with his life. Meghan fared even less well, falling unconscious after suffering the combined attentions of two of the foul creatures. Marko and Hren did their duty, using ranged attacks and fading to the rear of every defensive line, allowing the better melee attackers to hold their positions. The real heroes of the fight were Hinda and Meghan, who each took turns holding the defensive line together as the shaft wights savaged the party. Finally, the foul creatures lay dead (again) and the adventurers took stock of their health, deciding to return to the camp.