Pandemonium Megadungeon Session Report #4

It’s been a minute! Read reports #1, #2, and #3 of my ongoing open-table megadungeon campaign project, working-titled Pandemonium.”

13th Day of the Month of Grief

Our party consists of:
Sōt III, Butcher of Bugs, Roller of Rugs, Fighter 3; a haggard knight missing his left ear, clad in bone mail-and-plate, wielding Righty, his unmagical but very notched longsword.
Old Iron Grip, Magic-User 2; a recently-recovered illusionist, his medical bills and carousing cash paid for by a comrade, now sporting an iron left hand, a wooden peg left leg, and missing his left ear.
The Eldest Orphan of Forsaken, Fighter 2; a shockingly clean and well-dressed sporting a mohawk and very fancy boots.
Caspar, Magic-User 1; a gloomy, morose, but oddly friendly necromancer clad in a white sheet.

The party descended into the depths, straight to the second level. They messed about with the golden skull, woke it up, and it set itself on fire before flying away cackling; Caspar attempted to ghostwalk and accidentally died for a short while instead; found a hidden trapdoor falling onto spikes; ran into a cautious-if-polite dwarf (Sōt III speaks Dwarvish); and lowered Old Iron Grip down to the spikes to recover some treasure and a mysterious reddish bone key.

Given that Caspar still laid dead, they decided to drag him back to the surface and wait. He recovered some hours later.

14th Day of the Month of Grief

Going below once again, the party: recovered some lost gear; ran into some yellow ooze; heard mention of an elemental from some skeletons; Caspar lied to the skeletons, claiming he was a leader; and ran afoul of some orcs. The orcs seemed quite durable, even immortal: many bore hideous wounds yet seemed quite calm, and one was just a head, but still talked.

The party bargained with the orcs (the Eldest Orphan speaks Goblinoid, which orcs speak), trading knowledge of the secret elevator previously discovered for dwarf bodies. After tangling with some skeletons (having seen through Caspar’s deception), the party dragged the dwarf corpses back to the goblins, to uphold their stairs-for-dwarves deal. The goblins rejected the dwarves—they wanted living bodies, not corpses. Dejected, the party returned to the surface.

15th Day of the Month of Grief

After some shuffling in the Forsaken Inn, a new party descended:
Tarkus, Magic-User 1; a black-clad necromancer—last delve, he seemingly died after drinking a potion, and a seemingly-identical Tarkus stepped out from an alternate dimension.
Vetch, Fighter 1; a genial, ambling tourist, newly out of retirement.
Little Guy, Magic-User 1; a heavily-mustachioed conjurer, muscular and sporting crimson tattoos.

After getting some advice on the maps and dangers from the Eldest Orphan, who was conveniently in the Inn’s taproom (my roommate walked by), the party descended. They: ran into skeletons on the steps to level 2 and convinced them to fight the goblins upstairs; jammed the golden skull into Little Guy’s pocket dimension; cracked open a couple of sarcophagi and tangled with a yellow ooze but also claimed quite a bit of treasure; woke up Zagan the Old, a giant skeleton friendly to a previous party (Vetch took a photo); and retreated back to the surface.

16th Day of the Month of Grief

After offering advice to the previous party, the Eldest Orphan of Forsaken decided to join this group.

They went below to discover that skeletons had taken over the room leading to the stairs to the second level from the goblins—which the goblins had promised to control and allow the party access through. The party bothered the goblins, who raised a band of fighters and rousted the skeletons; the party descended to level 2.

The party immediately went to the secret elevator shaft they’d previously discovered, and lowered Vetch down with some 200’ of rope. At the bottom, Vetch found a large elevator platform with a crank on it, which he dutifully cranked, raising the elevator.

Little Guy, his nerves failing and his body quaking, decided to return to the surface alone (my friend had to leave early). Unfortunately, as Little Guy departed, he almost immediately ran into some kind of invisible wind-monster, which promptly sucked the air out of his lungs and left him gasping, then dead. Thus ended Little Guy.

Meanwhile, the other three—Tarkus, Vetch, and the Eldest Orphan—lowered the elevator back down, with them three on it. At the bottom, they discovered a large metal door set with patterns of bone, similar to what they’d seen above. Tarkus attempted to pick the lock but fumbled it, and a blade suddenly sheared out, slicing off three fingers on his right hand! After blocking the blade-slit with a shield, he kept working, eventually opening the door.

The party found themselves faced with a wooden wall and the sound of rhythmic metal scraping. Peeking around the wall, they gazed into an armory, where two four-armed humanoids sharpened two blades apiece simultaneously. Rather than tangle with these individuals, the party retreated back up the elevator.

From there, the party: offered Tarkus’s fingers to an undead divine figure called the Judge of Kings;” raised an orc zombie; discovered a room with a shrine; realized the shrine was trapped with poison gas, which they burned; discovered the steps up to the shrine were trapped, too, slicing up the zombie; and eventually used a ladder to skip the steps and reach the shrine. Inside was a great deal of treasure, a strange icon of a broken gravestone, and a note reading But a taste of good things to come.”

Retreating, the party ran into Little Guy’s corpse, which they stashed in a caved-in hallway. Vetch took his gold, promising it for his eventual successor, whoever that may be.

Back at the surface, the party spent their winnings, celebrating raucously. As they leveled up, they took on titles: the Eldest Orphan became The Eldest Orphan of Forsaken for Eternity, Vetch became Paparazzo Vetch, and Tarkus became Tarkus Two-Fingers.

17th Day of the Month of Grief

Synthesizing the previous parties, three adventurers went down:
Sōt III, Butcher of Bugs, Roller of Rugs, Fighter 3; still haggard, still clad in bone, still missing his left ear, still wielding Righty.
Paparazzo Vetch, Fighter 2; camera-wielding tourist increasingly interested in dungeon ecology.
Sabine, Fighter 1; a burly veteran soldier, seemingly old and young at the same time.

After getting Sabine up to speed on their adventures thus far and planning their route, the party descended. They: went straight to level 2; rummaged through Little Guy’s gear; left Vetch’s photo of Zagan the Old next to his crypt; ran into some friendly dwarves; helped the dwarves fight a band of orcs, wherein Vetch slaughtered a half-dozen singlehandedly; grabbed a bunch of still-living orc heads (wired or nailed shut to stop them biting or talking); then suddenly were ambushed by a group of corpse crawlers!

The crawlers rapidly paralyzed all but one of the dwarves, who fled, and Vetch. Sōt went to rescue Vetch, but was paralyzed as well. Sabine retreated, leaving the dwarves and her comrades to be slowly consumed by the crawlers. She ran back to the nearby skeleton shrine, and begged the skeletons for help: they agreed, but asked that the party would recover the dwarves’ fabled treasure for them in exchange. Sabine, with no other options, agreed.

The skeletons raised some zombie orcs and dwarves, then stormed in, driving back the crawlers handily. Sabine dragged the paralyzed Vetch and Sōt back to (relative) safety. While waiting, various dwarves kept arriving to check in, including two mechanical-armor-clad engineers who, upon realizing both arrived on the same job, began arguing viciously with each other.

After Sōt and Vetch recovered from their paralysis, the party: went back to the chamber where they believed the invisible air elemental lived; sealed the door but for the keyhole; mocked and baited it (Sabine speaks Zephyrean); and then managed to trap it inside an oilskin bag. They searched the room, found treasure, and took both treasure and air-elemental-bag-bomb back to the surface. They gave the goblins the three still-living orc heads—as orcs regrow over time—thus paying their debt of hostages for the week and ensuring safe passage to the second floor for another week.

Vetch, with a suspiciously-large amount of gold handy, partied hard and reached level 3, becoming Paparazzo Vetch the Orcbreaker.

18th Day of the Month of Grief

Our party consists of:
The Eldest Orphan of Forsaken for Eternity, Fighter 3; still noble, still mohawked, still extremely clean, still not a notch on any of his weapons.
Paparazzo Vetch the Orcbreaker, Fighter 3; now clad in scavenged armor and wielding a battle-axe, suspiciously rich.
Tarkus Two-Fingers, Magic-User 2; black-clad necromancer, now missing three fingers on his right hand.
Keviin, Fighter 1; the rookie burglar, still quite fresh.

After descending, the party: told the goblins about a secret passage on a map they found of goblin territory; feigned death Tarkus and Vetch to speak the Corpsetongue; semi-accidentally raised a skeleton presumably-named Isaakios; discovered dangerous dwarvish wall-slamming traps; examined a huge hole in the floor and thought they saw water below; and found a merchant! The merchant, clad head-to-toe in paper and parchment, gave his name as Textus, Master Scrivener, and offered six scrolls for sale. The party, pooling together their funds, purchased a scroll of magic dome in the Corpsetongue and a scroll of passwall in Void, which they paid Textus extra to translate into the Corpsetongue as well: Tarkus promptly claimed both, declaring himself an aspiring dark lord.

After, they found a room full of gas that induced lightheadedness with a shrine in it, which they raided, including a strange note reading Acid, Fire, Strangulation. Taking their winnings, the party retreated to the surface, and Tarkus transcribed his new spells, going deeply into debt to his comrades. Isaakios, Tarkus’s skeleton, declined, staying below to examine the mysterious golden skull.

19th Day of the Month of Grief

After Tarkus feigned his death once more, the party went below, straight to the second floor. The golden skull, which had consistently reappeared (even after being pocket dimension’d for a day by the late Little Guy), was missing, replaced with an ordinary skull.

Unsure of what to make of this, the party proceeded. They: realized Sōt’s red-bone key opened the iron doors to the secret elevator; distracted corpse crawlers with orc meat; and discovered a different merchant in the same room as Textus. This merchant, wearing a treasure chest for a helmet and carrying a huge pack, named himself as Curus, Master Peddler, and offered a variety of magical items and trinkets. The party, pooling their funds, purchased a miser’s flute to draw coins, a set of donkey legs to allow objects to walk, and a necklace of fireballs with 5 beads. Then, Tarkus attempted to passwall to a nearby chamber but failed, instead accidentally discovering a secret vertical shaft, from which daylight shone down. The party believed it the well in the town of Forsaken leading to the water below, but didn’t confirm for certain.

After, they: correctly passwall’d into an orc armory; learned that orcs all grow from great Allmother Brood; ran afoul of an orc magician and three horrible gibbering orc-flesh-hybrid-beasts; then lobbed a fireball from the new necklace into the corpse crawlers’ nest, promptly incinerating all of them. After looting the treasure, they realized that, according to their hand-drawn map, there should be a single wall between the room containing the now-ordinary skull and the merchant’s chamber: opened up, it’d be a huge shortcut. But alas, after passwalling again, they discovered it to be a distance of 10’—a huge distance to tunnel through substrate.

Still, after several hours away, Curus’s stock had refreshed, and the party purchased a Lagash sapling, which grows apples when watered with blood, and a folding boat. Tarkus raised two skeletons and commanded them to tunnel for the duration of their unlife, then the party returned to the surface.

Will the company manage to pay their debt to the undead for rescuing Sōt and Vetch by finding the treasure of the dwarves? What enemies will burn beneath their next 4 fireballs? What lies below, at the bottom of the secret well-shaft? Find out next time.

March 8, 2024