Pandemonium Megadungeon Session Report #1

Recently, I started an open-table megadungeon campaign using a megadungeon I’m working on, working-titled Pandemonium.”

This report covers the first two sessions.

A vast, ancient dungeon lies beneath the town of Forsaken, at the far northern edge of the world. Many heroes went below in ages past, never to return. Food is sorely limited in Forsaken: Imperial decree dictates an allotment of only 60 meals per month for adventurers going below, and no other food is available for purchase.

1st Day of the Month of Grief

Our party consists of:
Old Grip, Magic-User 1; a salty and shady illusionist.
Sōt II, Fighter 1; a scraggly and gangly burglar.

The Forsaken Inn’s ancient innkeeper led the adventurers down the inn’s sub-basement, where a heavy door sat covered in chains, locks, and bars.

When the party returned from the dungeons, the innkeeper explained, she said she’d wait 10 minutes after their knock before unlocking the door—enough time to ensure any pursuing monsters could kill and eat them, then turn around and head back down.

After some last-minute shopping, Old Grip and Sōt went down. They cracked open some sarcophagi; unleashed a black ooze they ended up setting on fire; lost their armor to said ooze; recovered the possibly-edible ooze remnants; and retreated back upstairs.

A few hours later, they went below once more. They opened more sarcophagi; fought some glowing bugs that severed Old Grip’s wrist tendons and drank half of Sōt’s oil; found a goblin with a giant hole in their chest who died after it was pointed out (Old Grip speaks Goblinoid); found a weird shrine depicting a goblin head made of other, smaller goblin heads, which they promptly raided for some money and two shiny brass ingots; then went back to the surface.

2nd Day of the Month of Grief

Old Grip and Sōt II headed below once more. They found some maybe-friendly skeletons; got chased by a gelatinous cube, slowing it by barring a door it began to dissolve; Old Grip got his leg bitten off by a beaked brick mimic monster; Sōt retreated dragging Grip as goblins came up the hallway.

Caught between a gelatinous cube on one side and goblins on the other, Old Grip cast invisibility twice, miscasting twice. An ear and a hand vanished into thin air, leaving bloody stumps, and Grip lost his ability to see other sighted creatures for several hours. The cube and goblins burst in near-simultaneously, the goblins fled, the cube gave chase, and the adventurers slowly hobbled back to the surface.

3rd Day of the Month of Grief

Old Grip, missing an ear, a leg, and a hand, couldn’t afford medical treatment and so decided to rest. Three new adventurers arrived, now making the party:
Sōt II, Fighter 1; a scraggly and gangly burglar, now slightly richer.
Shrike, Fighter 1; a sick, cursed, feather-clad outlander.
Tarkus, Magic-User 1; a tall, broad necromancer.
Chonkers, Fighter 1; a quiet, nimble ranger.

After some more shopping and Tarkus death warding himself, they went below. They chatted with some very friendly skeletons (Tarkus speaks the Corpsetongue); bickered about marching order; pushed deeper than they’d gone before, into earthen tunnels; and got trapped between a locked door and 10 goblins.

A fight ensued, centered around a bear trap Chonkers placed down earlier: Sōt and Shrike held the front line, killing a few goblins; they failed to knock a goblin into the bear trap; Chonkers loosed arrows, but the goblins sometimes seemed to fail to die. A knife whistled through the air, catching Chonkers’s hand, leaving it useless. A goblin hacked off Sōt’s arm, he collapsed into unconsciousness, and fell straight onto the bear trap, which promptly snapped shut and crushed his skull. Thus ended Sōt II.

The goblins surged forward, overwhelming Chonkers and leaving him unconscious and dying; Tarkus, fearing the worst, cast feign death on himself and played dead. Suddenly, Shrike lashed out with his whip, slaying three goblins in quick succession; the remaining 5 goblins panicked. Two fled, but three keeled over, seemingly dead despite being untouched. Shrike stabbed each of them to be sure, then he and Tarkus dragged the armless, unconscious Chonkers back to the surface, narrowly talking their way past a skeleton mage.

4th Day of the Month of Grief

Chonkers, missing a hand and unable to pay for healing, decided to refrain from going below—he’ll be back in a couple of months. Fortunately, two new adventurers arrived that same morning:
Sōt III, Fighter 1; a suspiciously-familiar scraggly and gangly man, but now a knight.
Bonkers, Fighter 1; the quiet, monk-like brother of Chonkers (a day behind), also a knight.

After the knights prayed, the four went below. They aggravated some skeletons; accidentally inhaled poison gas from a sarcophagus; found two scrolls, one in Stonespeak that Tarkus half-understood (he speaks Dwarvish) as something about time and movement and the other entirely incomprehensible; found a secret door and forced it open; fought two skeleton mages in quick succession; raided a sarcophagus for a whole bunch of money, some jewelry, a suit of mail-and-plate made from yellow bone, and six different potions.

Feeling successful, the party returned to the surface, sold off the loot, and sniffed some potions to uncertain results. Despite his misgivings as a knight, Sōt III decided to don the bone armor. Several party members decided to blow their new wealth on booze, new clothes, and loose hotties, thus gaining some XP (but not enough to level up).

5th Day of the Month of Grief

The same four—Sōt III, Shrike, Tarkus, and Bonkers—went below, Tarkus spending several hours to death ward everyone. They delved further than they’d ever gone before, into goblin territory; Bonkers drank an unknown potion and became two-dimensional; they ambushed some goblins; found a room full packs and odd clicking sounds, and discovered one sack full of goblinshit; Bonkers drank another unknown potion to seemingly no effect; then they antagonized many goblins.

A battle ensued as dozens of goblins poured in. The party held for a time but began to falter as the goblins continued to add to the swell and their death wards expended; Sōt drank an unknown potion and went deaf, then coincidentally lost an ear to a goblin knife. The party decided to flee. They ran, the goblins in pursuit.

They used a sarcophagus lid against a door and set the door on fire to buy time, then split up: just before they split, Tarkus drank another unknown potion and told the other three to fly, you fools”—Sōt, Bonkers, and Shrike, feeling oddly compelled, fled to the secret hallway they discovered yesterday and closed the door. Tarkus feigned death and recruited a collection of skeletons to go fight the goblins, which they did. The skeletons promptly lost, Tarkus played dead again, and the goblins stripped him of all of his gear. The party then reunited and returned to the surface.

Will the adventurers avenge Sōt II and defeat the goblins? Will Tarkus reclaim his lost gear? Will they ever find enough gold to level up? Find out next time.

February 2, 2024