When last we left our intrepid adventurers, they were standing a midst the corpses of a recently slain tribe of gnolls. Deciding that a recently cleared out gnoll lair would make a good place to rest and recuperate, they cleared out the common room of the gnoll cave and made camp for a couple of days. A brief scuffle with a returning band of gnolls caused them to extend their repose for an extra day, but soon they were ready to continue the adventure.
While searching the gnoll chieftain’s chambers, they discovered a secret door, and the corpse of an unlucky adventurer just inside the corridor beyond. Of note were the immaculate boots on this corpse, which the party took to identify later. The party emerged from this dusty passage through another secret door into a large store room, where they busied themselves replenishing their rations and water stores. So intent were they on this task that they didn’t notice the gelatinous cube that oozed its way into the room from the corridor beyond. Kelmore the hireling was caught unawares by the cube, which quickly began to envelope the hapless fighter. It was soon after this that Tim the Conjurer learned that his recently acquired wand of paralysis was useless against such a monster. At the same time though, the rest of the party discovered that their regular weapons were incredibly useful, and the gelatinous cube was quickly reduced to a gelatinous puddle. They picked up a few coins from the creature, and Tim found a new wand!
A note about Tim the Conjurer: Tim seems keen to activate magical devices whilst having only a rudimentary understanding of them. He had studied his wand of paralysis long enough to know how to activate it without knowing exactly what it did, and then fired it off during the random encounter with the gnolls. Everyone was quite relieved that this wasn’t, say, a wand of fireballs. Tim is eager to find out what his new wand does by using this same empirical process. I can’t help but think that on a long enough timeline this approach will yield some very
interesting hilarious disastrous fun results.
Continuing their exploration of these new caves, our band of adventurers came upon a well-equipped torture chamber, inhabited by a well-equipped torturer, who traded blows with Garwin the fighter before succumbing to the power of the paralysis wand. Our heroes quickly stripped their foe of his armor and battle axe, and then put him on the rack. Coming to in this most compromising of positions, Hamlin the torturer was eager to help the party in any way he could. Hamlin claimed that the evil cleric in charge of the temple complex must have ensorcelled him; he stated that the last thing he clearly remembered was guarding a merchant caravan travelling from Dyvers and that he was unsure of how long he had been forced to torturer innocent prisoners for the sadistic cultists. The party decided to give Hamlin the benefit of the doubt, though they didn’t trust him enough to give him his armor or his battle axe back. Garwin lent Hamlin his horseman’s pick, and the party set about giving Hamlin the chance to prove his trustworthiness. Hamlin quickly agreed to escort the party to the heart of the complex where they could confront the evil priest in charge of the cult.
Hamlin proceeded to lead the adventurers deeper into the complex, stopping by a door which he said led to a dormitory that housed some acolytes of the evil priest. Not pressed for time, our heroes decided that they could spare a few moments to dispatch this threat before proceeding on to the main shrine. Hamlin put the acolytes within at ease before the party burst in and ambushed them, quickly dispatching the surprised zealots. Even though Hamlin didn’t manage to land a blow during the brief encounter, the party were so impressed by him that they decided to give him back his chain mail, though they still didn’t trust him enough to let him have his axe back.
And that’s where we left off this week. The next session should be exciting indeed, as Hamlin leads the party to a confrontation with Jovan, the master of the evil cult residing in the Caves of Chaos. Also of note this week was the addition of a new player, who is in fact the player that originally played Tim the Conjurer. This was excellent, since I was able to stop playing him as an NPC and the new player was able to inject some great personality into the brash wizard. Everyone is still loving the switch to the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea rules, and the last couple of session haven’t felt as bogged down as previous games using the 3.5 rule set. If the whole party doesn’t get slaughtered in an ill-planned bloodbath next session, we may be able to wrap up our adventures in the Caves of Chaos and proceed on to The Temple of Elemental Evil, which I am very excited about.