DUNGEONS DEEP AND CAVERNS OLD

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Session Roster:

  • Grogon – 17th level Half-Orc Fighter
  • Sun Tzu Lee – 17th Level Human Monk
  • Wraith Headhunter – 17th level Human Rogue
  • Abernacky – 17th level Dwarf Ranger
  • Maug The Destroyer – Half-Orc 12th Level Barbarian/ 4th Level Rogue

“Cold be hand and heart and bone,
And cold be sleep under stone:
Never more to wake on stony bed,
Never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.”

J.R.R. Tolkien


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Continued from: The Slave Pits

The Red Text is my Dungeon Master voice.

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As they rushed up the stairs, another shockwave rocked the complex. They had to stop for a moment, and regain their balance before finishing their dash up the stairs. At the top of the stairway, they saw a door that was open. Beyond the door was a large room, and it was on fire. But there was another staircase there within the smoke and flame. Before they could enter, they all hear laughter from the other room.

“Come to my my pretties!” shouted a man’s voice. And then the same voice began to mutter in Elven. Seconds later, another body came flying towards the area in front of the door ahead of them. The body bounced along the wooden floor, making sickening noises. The body was twisted at odd angles and its neck shattered.

The Monk, Suz Tzu, moved forward, trying to use stealth to his best advantage as he called on the power of his Ki to begin healing his wounds. Anernacky began to smear grime and dust from the floor and walls of the immediate area, attempting to use his ranger skills to blend into the surrounding area and Hide in Plain Sight. Wraith lurked in the shadows, focusing his attention on his abilities of Blindsight, seeking out the source of the laughter in the next room.  Meanwhile, Grogon returned to the hallway behind them to gather four torches. Improvised weapons were better than no weapons at all. Maug remained, beginning to focus to work himself up into a battle frenzy.

None of the playing characters were proficient with improvised weapons, but I ruled that the torches would inflict 1d6 plus their Strength modifier when used like a club.

A minute later, Grogon returned and pass out the torches. Now extinguished, the wooden shafts bound with metal would work as improvised clubs for the battle that was sure to come. With a nod, Suz Tzu entered the burning room and used the smoke to his best advantage. He peered to the right, and could see a humanoid shape in the smoke. Wraith joined him, moving stealthily to the far side of the left side of the room. He could see an Elf, possibly a Moon Elf, dressed in ragged clothing. His flesh was a bright green hue. He was hunched over slightly, and standing over two more dead humans. Both were dressed in dirty brown robes like all the others.

Because of their mistreatment at the hands of the Slave Lords, all the playing characters were exhausted. I ruled that until they could take at least a Short Rest that they would all be making rolls at Disadvantage. This excluded the monk whose crazy Ki abilities helped him to not need food or water. He was also able to heal himself several times before entering combat. 

Meanwhile, Maug and Grogon both waited for the perfect situation to hurl themselves into battle. Both Half-Orcs were ready for battle, looking to make someone pay for the mistreatment they had received during their imprisonment. At the same moment, Abernacky finished with his camouflaging techniques. He was covered in dirt, mud, and filth. But did blend in very well with the environment, and much more so with the dark and smoky room ahead. He moved into the room, taking in the burning environment with the common sense inherent to Dwarves.

Hide in Plain Sight is a pretty cool ability. I keep picturing two things: (1) Schwarzenegger in Predator covered with mud and muck and (2) Walking Dead when anyone smears zombie blood all over themselves to walk among the undead.

The Elf mumbled something in Elvish, and reached down to pick up one of the corpses laying at his feet. He picked the corpse up with one hand and hurled it at Wraith. Although the rogue was ready to dodge out of the way, he didn’t need to because Sun Tzu put himself between Wraith and the Elf. As the corpse sailed through the air, the Monk tapped into his abilities to manipulate Ki, the power connecting all things. He set his feet, and grabbed the hands of the flying dead man, twisting his hips perfectly to redirect it back towards the Elf. Just then, Abernacky passed behind the Monk, and crouched down in the smoke to hide.

Corpses used as Improvised Weapons, oh yeah. And a monk using Deflect Missiles to toss the corpse back. What could be more fun?

The corpse flew through the air, and hit the Elf solidly. He didn’t budge. Unfazed, the Elf picked up the second body with both hands and hurled it with great force at Sun Tzu. Abernacky got down on his belly, blending into the environment as Wraith readied himself for what might come next. The Monk braced himself to catch the fleshy missile as he did before, but the force was too much. He let out a groan as the dead man smashed into him, knocking him backwards. The corpse fell to the ground. Only then did Suz Tzu realize that the dead man was missing an arm.

The Green Elf sneered, and said something in Elvish again. Then he dashed across the room, passing between Abernacky and Sun Tzu. He came to a stop not far from Wraith, and stood there breathing in raspy gulps. He remained hunched and his eyes were unfocused. He seemed to be looking everywhere and nowhere all at once.

The Dwarf and two Half-Orcs launched into a charge all at once. Abernacky struck first, using his momentum to fall into a slide and swipe at the Elf’s kneecaps. He intended to bring the enemy down in one mighty swing. However, the torch struck the Elf’s leg with no effect. As Abernacky continued his slide, and then dashed away to hide again, he could feel pain in his forearms from the strike. It was almost like he’d hit stone rather than flesh. Meanwhile, Grogon and Maug both came in swinging their meager torched like clubs. The blows were solid, but the Elf seemed to shrug them off without concern.

In retaliation, the Elf turned to attack Sun Tzu. It grew long talons and fangs as it torn into the Monk. Sun Tzu could sense that the the Elf infected him with some kind of a natural venom or poison. Luckily, the Monk was attuned to the forces of Ki around him, and could not be poisoned or infected with disease. He also no longer needed to eat or drink to sustain himself.

The combat continued like this for a time. Working together, the cabal did their best to bring down this fearsome foe. All the time, the Elf continued to mumble in Elvish. The Monk pummeled him with his martial arts, using the powerful Quivering Palm several times to inflict what should have been death blows. Wraith struck him in the back of the neck with a Death Strike that would have killed any normal man. And Abernacky, Maug, and Grogon all struck well placed hits that should have broken bones and shattered flesh. But the Elf seemed to shrug it off each time, lashing out with its claws and fangs. At one point, Maug was hit with the poisoned fangs.

My ruling was that the Barbarian would take 5 poison damage each round until he was either dead or treated for the poison. However, we both knew that since he was in a Rage, even if he was reduced to Zero Hit Points, there was a chance he could save and return to 1 HP. I clarified that even at that point, the poison would stay and continue to do damage until purged.

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At one point, the Elf made eye contact with the monk, and used an innate ability of Luring Glare. But at that moment, Maug The Destroyer came up behind the Elf and grabbed him in a grappling hold. The enraged barbarian held the Elf fast in a crushing bearhug while the others continued to beat at their enemy with the improvised clubs. Controlled by the Elf, Sun Tzu stepped up behind Maug and hit the Half-Orc several times in the back of the head. As they last strike hit, the Elf shouted angrily and broke free of the grapple.

Abernacky ran forward, turning himself into a Dwarven Missile. He lowered his shoulder and slammed into the Elf. The two went down on the floor, and the Dwarf rolled and returned to his feet with a wild war whoop. Maug, Grogon, and Sun Tzu went to work then, hitting the Elf viciously while he was prone. With each hit, the Elf would scream and emit a cloud of noxious Plague Field gas. Although the monk was not affected, Grogon started to cough and choke, falling to his knees in pain.

The Monk was able to use his saving throws to avoid damage from Area Effect damage. However, the Half-Orc Fighter had to make a total of six Constitution saving throws. A failure would inflict 10 damage and a success would do 5. The Fighter took a total of 40 damage. The Plague Field was an ability that acted as a Reaction triggered while prone and suffering bludgeoning damage. Nifty, huh?

dndancient_green_dragon_by_benwootten-d6jtuva

Then the Elf revealed his true nature. He raised his face to the ceiling and roared, transforming into a Green Dragon!  Instantly, Abernacky, Grogon, and Wraith felt the gnawing pain in their guts. They froze in terror, suffering from Dragonfear, a powerful magic innate to all dragons in their true forms. However, Sun Tzu and Maug the Destroyer remained unaffected. The dragon flapped its wings and launched itself up, crashing through the ceiling of the burning room and the three above it, revealing the dark night sky.

But as the Dragon ascended, Maug grabbed hold of its tail and Sun Tzu leaped on to its back! Both monk and barbarian rode the dragon up, up, up toward the dark night sky. The Monk began to assail the dragon with martial arts strikes, all strong enough to kill a man. His knuckles began to bleed from smashing them into the dragon’s hide but he did not stop. Sun Tzu would not stop until one of them was dead!

But then Maug growled, and managed to shift around enough to find stable footing on the ledges of the shattered structure. He growled, and shifted his torso mightily, pulling the dragon’s tail across his chest and to his left. The dragon faltered from the barbarian’s rage fueled maneuver, and crashed into the side of the prison. The dragon howled in surprise and anger, using its front and back claws to hold fast to the crumbling brick, mortar, and timber. Debris rained down from above, and embers shot out into the cool night air.

Abernacky was buried in the debris that rained down, and Wraith was clipped with a few falling timbers. Grogon however managed to get out of the way and remained unharmed. The Half-Orc fighter looked up at his companions and the dragon, a look of amazement in his eyes. These mercenaries were surely madmen.

The dragon shook itself, roaring in anger. Sun Tzu managed to hang on, but Maug lost his grasp on the creature’s tail. As he fell, he reached out. Fingers grabbed for any hold, and with luck he managed to catch the ledge two stories down from the dragon and one story up from his companions in the burning room. He gazed up at the dragon, and raised his free hand in a clenched fist.

He shouted defiantly, “I AM MAUG THE DESTROYER!”

… to be continued ….

 ⊕

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