Pandemonium Megadungeon Session Report #5

We’re back! You can read previous session reports here: #1, #2, #3, and #4. This is a particularly long one, since I’ve been so late on writing these—this covers some seven sessions.

20th Day of the Month of Grief

Today, our party consists of:
The Eldest Orphan of Forsaken for Eternity, Fighter 3; a mohawk-sporting, shockingly clean noble, dressed in aristocrat’s boots. He carries a necklace of fireballs, a miser’s flute, and shockingly un-notched weapons.
Sōt III, Butcher of Bugs, Roller of Rugs, Fighter 3; a haggard knight dressed in bone mail-and-plate, missing his left ear, carrying a heavily-notched but non-magical sword, Righty.
Tarkus Two-Fingers, Magic-User 2; an aspiring dark lord necromancer wrapped in black, with only two fingers on his right hand but many spells on his inscribed knucklebone-spellbook.
Snuffet the Pointer, Magic-User 2; a stoner transmuter, with a feather of Hieracon in his cap, which bends towards dangerous creatures.
One the Only, Fighter 2; a drunken, oddly experienced soldier.
Runpril, Magic-User 1; a simpering, smiley transmuter.
The Luggage, a chest to which the magical wooden donkey legs have been attached.

After some shopping, the party descended. They immediately headed for goblin territory; ambushed some guards; talked their way into the goblin’s armory; looted the armory for coin; and then worried about hiding bodies. Tarkus, miscasting an animate dead, accidentally detonated one of the corpses, damaging himself and the Luggage’s chest.

Deeper into goblin territory, the party encountered strange goblins who spoke in multiple voices, bickering with themselves, and seemingly ignored multiple lethal wounds. Eventually, Sōt and the Eldest Orphan settled on tackling the goblins and hacking their heads off—and still they spoke. They looted the shrine the strange multi-goblins prayed to, acquiring two unknown potions, 6 sling bullets made of tungsten (which cannot rust, and magnifies light), and a scroll of perspectival shift in Colossal, which Snuffet reads.

Using Snuffet’s feather of Hieracon stuck in his hat, the party triangulated the most dangerous foe deep in goblin territory, which they believed to be a being called the Goblinscholar,” otherwise known as Bolokhiv. After some measurements, backtracking, running into a dwarf scout, and feeding absinthe to a water elemental, Tarkus passwall’d through the wall straight to the foe.

Inside, they found a dozen goblins acting in near-perfect synchrony, a strange magical dance. Above hovered an enormous green ghost, a goblin, its lower body descending into tendrils connecting to its goblin disciples. This is Bolokhiv, the Goblinscholar.

Immediately, Snuffet cast dominate, and in a moment of supreme magical power, managed to dominate Bolokhiv, and accordingly most of his psychically-linked disciples. Not a moment later, the Eldest Orphan lobbed a fireball, killing half the disciples—and Bolokhiv grew smaller. A raging battle ensued as Snuffet attempted to control the disciples while Sōt, One, Runpril, and Tarkus attempted to kill the ones free of Snuffet’s psychic mastery. After the Eldest Orphan lobbed another fireball from his necklace, the battle was decided—the party stood victorious. With its disciples slain, Bolokhiv dwindled, then vanished.

From the pockets of the disciples, the party looted a great deal of coin, jewels, a hungry coin, 12 arrows made of zamak (which deals extra damage to magic-users), a set of mail-and-plate of immobility made from aloxite (which can smooth surfaces down like sandpaper or a file), some valuable aluminum, and a great deal of burned paper and shattered glass—the result of the fireballs.

Upon defeating Bolokhiv, several changes occurred in the party members: they each suddenly learned to read and speak Goblinoid, they gained the ability

Victorious, the party returned to the surface. Tarkus, blowing his winnings, advanced to level 3, becoming Lord Tarkus Two-Fingers.

21st Day of the Month of Grief

The Eldest Orphan (with a ghostly right leg), Sōt III (with a ghostly left leg), and Snuffet (with a ghostly right arm) all descended once more.

Returning to the goblin area, they learned that the goblins have now split into two sub-factions, led by the two former goblin leaders: Khilo, the High Sage, and Bokho, the Great Pedant. The party talked their way into a goblin lecture (all being able to speak Goblinoid perfectly), and using a map they found previously, discovered a secret elevator chamber behind the goblin lecture hall. They also raided a chamber in the goblin camp, gaining some coin, a potion, dust of disappearance, and Tarkus’s original spell-knucklebones, including the all-important death ward.

After, they found a ghost in a heavily-locked tomb named Evgenia, one of the original warriors who helped build and protect these dungeons. They asked her to locate a hidden shaft, also from their map, which she did. The party realized that, because they were only on the first level of the dungeon, the shaft must connect to the surface.

Returning to the surface, the party did some complicated measurements and realized the shaft must connect to the general store. They stormed in, tore up some floorboards in the basement, knocked a trapdoor open, and found a long ladderway descending into the dark.

After a few hours’ rest, they went down, some 250’. The bottom was a dark, dank, moss- and mushroom-bitten chamber. After pushing open a secret door, they discovered a room with an enormous mushroom inside, some 25’ tall, its cap just as wide. Creepers and vines hung from its gills. The party took a couple of photos (with Erasmus Karl’s old camera), noticed a door and the fact that the mushroom had dozens of eyes along the edge of its cap, and then departed.

22nd Day of the Month of Grief

Three new faces arrived at the tavern, not from the Imperium but rather below—goblins! With Bolokhiv’s demise, some goblins find their way to the surface to join the company and thus players may now play goblins as a player species option (we’re doing it a little differently in this campaign than this post, but it’s the same basic idea).

These three brave companions are Vibok, Olokh, and Khib, all burglars. Directed by the more experienced adventurers, the goblins descended the general store ladder and went to face the huge fungus. Conveniently, Vibok speaks Mycologue, the language of fungi.

The fungus, it turns out, is not very friendly. It names itself That-Which-Dances-Alone-Beneath-The-Moonlight, and mentions it is separate from the Magnificent House.” It wants meat, food, and acts suspiciously hungry for goblins. After some negotiation, the goblins decided to draw straws and offer up two companions so that one might go free. As Vibok and Olokh prepared to offer themselves up, the mushroom took a different option, and three huge tendrils lashed down, snapping up the goblins.

A short fight followed, in which the Khib was thrown against a wall, scalped, and died—whereupon Vibok and Olokh, ensnared still, also believed themselves dead, and so died. Thus ended Vibok, Olokh, and Khib.

23rd Day of the Month of Grief

Tarkus (sporting a ghostly right arm tipped with three new ghostly-skeletal appendages), Sōt, the Eldest Orphan, and the Luggage headed back down to check out the goblin territory (after Tarkus death warded everyone for safety).

After making it to the goblin camp, they learn that the goblins splintered with the defeat of Goblinscholar Bolokhiv: the two goblin academic leaders, Khilo the High Sage studies deep psychometry” while Bokho the Great Pedant practices ascendant psychometry” instead, and both sides now hate each other.

The party: hid Tarkus’s skeletons in the Luggage; disrupted a lecture to find a secret room; discovered the secret room housed an elevator down (currently lowered); looted an unoccupied goblin academic’s office; ran into Evgenia, causing the goblins to panic and scatter; and sent Tarkus’s skeletons to raid Evgenia’s tomb. Then, they set out to scale down the elevator shaft and find whatever lies at the bottom.

Sōt and the Eldest Orphan lowered Tarkus down, using a clever piton-knot combination to prevent falls. As Tarkus reached the bottom and set about picking the lock holding the elevator in place, his skeletons returned at the top carrying a huge silver pike. Sōt and the Orphan, unable to speak the Corpsetongue, tried to explain that Tarkus was below. The skeletons, understanding perfectly, dropped the pike down the shaft. It barely missed Tarkus, and bent severely. After unlocking the elevator, Tarkus grabbed the pike (with both regular hand or ghost hand, as silver affects ghosts) and cranked the elevator back up, at which point he tried to hand it to Sōt and found he couldn’t—cursed.

The party descended, discovered a fleshy chamber full of carnivorous mouth-mushrooms; tried to cut their way through but found it bloody and risky; sampled the mushrooms (delicious!); and then returned to the goblin camp via elevator—Sōt, who sampled the mushrooms, found himself oddly hungry, almost aching.

From there, they almost immediately ran into Evgenia, furious at her tomb being looted: through the power of (Evgenia’s looted) bent silver pike and the kicks of ghostly legs, the party managed to defeat her. From there, the party went to her tomb and looted the rest of the treasure the two skeletons hadn’t, including a set of full mail made from duralumin (which slows fall speeds). Then, Tarkus accidentally miscast question dead and temporarily died, so the party chucked him in the Luggage and returned to the surface.

24th Day of the Month of Grief

Snuffet, Runpril (now with a ghostly right arm) and Sōt III set out with:
Paparazzo Vetch the Orcbreaker, Fighter 3; a tourist-turned-aspiring-chef, wearing a belt of cat imprisonment and carrying a sealed oilskin bag with an angry air elemental trapped inside.
Sabine, Fighter 1; a grizzled, burly veteran with a limp.

After discovering that the distance from the base of the second-floor stairs to a merchant’s room was only 10’, the party hatched a plan: Snuffet cast stone to flesh on the wall, permanently transforming it to living meat, then cast perspectival shift to shrink it down and carve an opening, then perspectival shift it back, creating a meat wall with a tunnel through it. The party went through and met Tonus, Master Alchemist, a merchant clad in a yellow rubber jumpsuit with a huge barrel on his back, face hidden by a spherical glass bubble-helmet filled with rainbow potion. The party sampled all of them but bought only one—a potion of cloudkill.

Backtracking, the party decided to go down to the chamber the three dead goblins discovered with the giant fungus. After talking with it for a while (Vetch speaks Mycologue), it seemed friendly, and the party made a deal to get safe passage. Right as the terms were set, the fungus attacked, ensnaring everyone in its tendrils, and a desperate fight ensued where the party only barely escaped. Infuriated, Vetch and Sabine went back down, lobbed in a bunch of oil flasks followed by a torch, then chucked the cloudkill potion in for good measure.

25th Day of the Month of Grief

The party went down the secret shaft beneath the general store once again, and discovered the giant traitorous fungus dead and desiccated. Exploring further in the overgrown depths, the party: discovered a scum-filled fountain with a monosyllabic myconid scout within; talked with two other myconids, part of a hive mind called the Ministry;” discovered the myconids value LSD and will pay good money for it; and got Vetch an appointment on the 7th of Imperium (next month) to meet with the Council, the leading body of the Ministry (such as leaders” exist within a hive mind). The myconids explain that this involves trepanning the skull; Vetch believes he will die and join the hive mind as part of this appointment.

After salvaging a bit of treasure, the party returned to the surface. Runpril, with winnings from Bolokhiv still unspent, advanced to level 2, becoming Runpril the Crunty.

26th Day of the Month of Grief

Tarkus descended again, this time joined by two newcomers:
Nouh, Fighter 1; a butcher monk, an adept, tall and scrawny.
Jim, Magic-User 1; a hillbilly goblin transmuter, surprisingly strong.

Descending down to level 2, the party: raised some skeletons; encountered the meat wall (none of which any of them had seen); ran into Curus, Master Peddler, a magical items merchant; accidentally enlarged a door instead of reducing it; raised some undead corpse crawlers; failed to gain access to dwarf territory (dwarves do not like necromancers or skeletons); explored around the edge of a pit leading to deep water; and bargained with some orcs to let them through their territory while blindfolded—in exchange, the party would bring back dwarf heads and show the orcs the way to human territory.

After being blindfold-walked through the orc camp (and hearing all manner of shrieking and gnashing), the party explored only briefly before finding a sarcophagus. Opening it, it released dangerous gas, and a monstrous paper-wrapped hand appeared and ripped the head off of one of Tarkus’s skeletons. A fight ensued: more skeletons died; the gas prevented much movement; the monster revealed itself as a mummy; Jim accidentally transformed everyone’s rations into angry badgers; Nouh was struck by the mummy and became infected with something bad; Tarkus’s minions seemed controlled by the mummy somehow; and Tarkus eventually managed to land a fear on the mummy, who bargained. The mummy offered all its treasure—including a porcelain bow, a scroll of wizard agility in the Corpsetongue, and another scroll written in Hornsound—bar its most prized, which it described as that which binds the universe together.” The party took the deal, claimed the loot, then headed back to the surface, using passwall to skip the orcs (thus failing to uphold their end of the deal).

27th Day of the Month of Grief

Sōt III, the Eldest Orphan, Snuffet, Runpril descended, joined by:
Old Iron Grip, Magic-User 2; an illusionist with an iron left hand, iron left peg leg, and missing his left ear.

Sōt III recently leveled up to 4, becoming Sōt III, Butcher of Bugs, Roller of Rugs, Squandering Hugs; as did the Eldest Orphan, becoming the Eldest Orphan of Forsaken for Eternity by Birth.

The party descended, climbing through meat wall once more; its tunnel seemed to have shrunk. The merchant room as unoccupied, but the merchant blanket still sat there. They went on to investigate the now-familiar teleportation circle, but still to no effect. Giving up, the party went back to the first level.

Heading to goblin territory, they pushed towards the territory held by the ascendant psychometrics” rather than the deep psychometrics,” the latter of whom seem further from the unexplored area where Bolokhiv resided. They met with the Great Pedant, who seemed friendly-ish; discovered a bear in a cage with a goblin’s psyche stuck in its brain; and recruited a goblin tour guide to show them through what was described as a trap hallway of death.”

The party met several traps: sliding spikes (cut at the shaft); spinning saw blades (sidestepped, but only after killing their tour guide); falling-block tripwires (ducked); noxious gas (sprinted through); a barely-hidden pit trap (leapt over, but saw something odd speaking Mechanian far below); poison darts (avoided, and claimed a few); and an exploding corpse, which they failed to avoid. It exploded, nearly killing Old Iron Grip, saved only by quickly transforming flesh to stone and sending him home with a teleport. The Eldest Orphan pushed ahead, realizing that this trap hallway led to the far side of Bolokhiv’s chamber—a place they’d already been.

Deflated (though enlightened), the party clambered into Runpril’s teleport and went home. The temple priest saved Old Iron Grip, but only barely.

28th Day of the Month of Grief

The Eldest Orphan, Tarkus, and Vetch descended once more. Vetch claimed the duralumin mail; Tarkus death warded all involved.

Vetch immediately leapt down the shaft to the mushroom chambers carrying the Luggage, slowed by his new mail and landing safely. Tarkus and the Orphan had to climb down normally. The floor was filled with a deep blue-green haze, tinting the moss and fungi even dimmer.

Exploring, the party: spoke with some myconids and learned about a bit of lore (mentions of the Heart of Many Hearts, the Cannibal King, the Castellan of the Depths, and others); snagged some coins with the Orphan’s miser’s flute; and found a room full of pale blue gas and bright blue mushrooms. They wrapped their faces in wet cloths, and explored.

A short ways in, they saw something that looked like a body sprawled amidst the growths; Tarkus tried to animate the corpse, and it had no effect; after some more paranoid investigation, they discovered it was a man, unconscious but alive! As they dragged him out, the Eldest Orphan passed out, unconscious—the gas was sleeping gas.

Tarkus and Vetch woke up the man, learned his name was Tarninus,” and that he had been asleep for [REDACTED]. Confused and bewildered, the man agreed to follow them as they returned to the surface.

The Eldest Orphan woke up the next day.

1st Day of the Month of the Imperium

On the surface, the party asked Tarninus” about his time exploring, and he mentioned that the entrance they came up through—the one in the basement of the Forsaken Inn—doesn’t seem at all familiar. His memory is hazy after so long asleep in the dungeon, but the party remains convinced.

Deciding to look for other entrances, the party lowered Vetch off the cliffside that Forsaken sits on, descending down towards the Shivering Sea. About 200’ down, Vetch found a carved stone disc set into the cliff-face, 10’ across, set with the image of a crowned corpse. Descending down even further, Vetch found a half-flooded cave amidst the sharp rock at the cliff’s based, the waves crashing around.

They poked around through the other buildings in town—apothecary, stables, the temple—looking for basements and hidden entrances, and found nothing. Using passwall, the party also examined the weathered statue at the town’s north edge, and discovered a large metal plate beneath it. They then set Tarninus” up with a shovel, told him [REDACTED], and set him digging.

Resolved, they headed back down below; Tarkus raising more skeletons (and accidentally death warding them instead of raising more). They: went down to level 2; discovered gas that clung to the ceiling, requiring them to squat; convinced some orcs to help them kill dwarves; killed some dwarves in a workshop and a guard post; found a secret chamber that held the possible remnants of an orc-dwarf treaty; and then another secret chamber, which lead to a large metal conveyor belt bearing earth, stone, and metal.

Realizing this was dwarf territory, the party investigated by following the conveyor belt: they killed some more dwarves in some kind of kitchen, found a huge dwarf machine of unknown purpose, and then were spotted and the alarm raised—the party hightailed it back. Before they left, they killed the orcs and claimed the dwarf heads, which they sold back to the other orcs, earning untrusting looks and a measly 20sp per head.

Returning to the surface, the party woke up Snuffet (my roommate came home) and got him to perspectival shift both the monument in Forsaken and the metal plate beneath it, revealing a set of stairs descending down into the dark. The party investigated only a little: the stairs were shallow, only a few dozen feet, and led to a dusty, dark, cobwebbed catacomb.

What lies beneath the monument stairs? How will the party navigate the fungal hazes? Will they side with the dwarves, the orcs, or neither? Find out next time (hopefully sooner than last time).

April 14, 2024