Pandemonium Megadungeon Session Report #7

Hello again! Sorry it’s been so long—life’s been busy. You can read previous session reports here: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6. This report comprises some eleven sessions.

8th Day of the Month of the Imperium

Today, two convenient new recruits appeared:
Zit, Fighter 1; a goblin burglar.
Khib II, Fighter 1: another goblin burglar (no relation, of course, to Khib I).

The two goblins headed down, bound for the second floor, and immediately ran afoul of some skeletons—skeletons who many other party members encountered many times, and often were friendly, but very much disliked goblins. The two fled and managed to find four other goblins, who they convinced to join them. Together, the now-six goblins defeated the skeletons and proceeded downstairs. One of the new recruits, passing by a conspicuous lever on the stairs, pulled it, causing the stairs to turn to ramps and sending the whole band sliding down.

From the second floor, the goblins proceeded directly to the fixed teleportation circle they’d heard about, and spoke the Celestine and Mechanian incantations correctly (very convenient that Zit and Khib just happened to read and speak each), teleporting all six goblins to an unknown location, which the circle simply called the Transgressor’s hidden respite.”

The goblins emerged into a large room plated with steel panels, with a chest in the corner and a pair of sealed sliding double doors (like an elevator). They immediately looted the chest, finding various treasures including a pot of Sovereign Glue. The goblins rejoiced with their newfound wealth, but discovered a problem: there was no way out.

Over the next several hours, Zit and Khib: attempted to pry open the doors (failure); watched the other four recruits descend into panic; killed the other four as they turned violent; unscrewed a steel panel and discovered stone wall beneath it; tunneled through the stone wall; experimented with various steel-door hydraulics; tunneled through another stone wall; and then eventually emerged into a new room, a wide semi-circular chamber made of stone, but with a flat steel opposite wall. Poking around, they found no exits, but realized that the flat steel wall was slightly elevated, like it was a raised piece of hallway running crosswise.

Brandishing their tools, they: spent the next dozen-odd hours carving a tiny tunnel through stone under the steel hallway-wall; boiled goblin carcasses in a steel-panel box for water; ate their former comrades; and eventually emerged into another, mirrored semi-circular stone chamber. This chamber, however, had another set of double doors, which the goblins knew how to get through (that is, by tunneling through the stone around it instead). Emerging into a new chamber for the first time in over 24 hours, Zit and Khib found a fountain!

They rushed forward, joyous and thirsty, splashing it everywhere and laughing, only to realize it was not water, but acid! The acid, unfortunately, melted off Zit’s leg, causing him to collapse unconscious, losing acrid blood quickly. Khib II, sorely burned, staggered from room to room, eventually finding another fountain—he drank, brought some back to Zit, fed it to him, and then started to feel sick—poison. In his last fleeting moments of consciousness, Khib staggered to another chamber and found a large upright cylinder decorated with images of a geometric skeleton, then collapsed. Thus ended Zit and Khib II.

9th Day of Month of the Imperium

Today, four familiar faces went down:
The Eldest Orphan of Forsaken for Eternity by Birth, Fighter 4; our classic mohawk’d noble, dressed in aristocrat’s boots, and a necklace of fireballs while bearing his miser’s flute and a ghostly right leg.
Sōt III, Butcher of Bugs, Roller of Rugs, Squandering Hugs, Fighter 3; our beloved haggard knight, still clad in bone mail-and-plate, still wielding his notched longsword Righty and a silver Pike of Warning, still carrying his dust of disappearance, trusty Polaris-demon camera, still bearing a ghostly left leg (but tragically missing his left ear).
Paparazzo Vetch the Orc-Breaker, Fighter 3; tourist-turned-chef, clad in duralumin mail, bearing his belt of cat imprisonment and an air elemental trapped in an oilskin bag.
Runpril the Crunty, Magic-User 2; a now-noseless translocator carrying a bag of poison darts.

The party descended down the recently-revealed staircase revealed beneath the ancient monument at the north edge of town. Below, in the darkness, they: tapped around with their poles, very cautiously; accidentally bumped a statue that screamed very loudly; fought some skeletons; and found a pit filled with magical darkness and scuttling sounds. Descending below, they discovered the scuttling sounds seemed linked to the magic dark, and the party retreated. Skeletons and more shadow-things ambushed them, and a savage fight commenced.

After the fight, they discovered the shadow-projection scuttlers were spider-like skeletal creatures, a human ribcage expanded to limb-like lengths. Runpril also took an axe-blow to the head, and so the party rapidly retreated, doing their best to get Runpril to safety. They survived, barely, but now carry a nasty scar.

Hours later, they went below again. They: advanced until they heard chains clinking and the whispers of Ghosttongue, so retreated; ran into a very rude decapitated ghost carrying its own head; slew said rude ghost; and eventually ran back into the chain-clinking-Ghosttongue-speaking being. In pure shadow, they couldn’t see it, but using Sōt and the Eldest Orphan’s psychic-spirit-telepathy (gained from defeating Goblinscholar Bolokhiv), they spoke with the creature: it identified itself as the Judge of Kings, and it desired judgement over the whole of the dungeon—and that it despised light. In particular, it wanted the crown of one of its hated enemies, the Cannibal King, who dwelt far below.

In exchange for a promise to retrieve the crown of the Cannibal King, the Judge of Kings granted a boon to the party: the location of a secret ladderway down to the third floor, accessed in the Judge’s territory. From there, the party explored a little ways further without light, found some treasure, and headed back to the surface.

10th Day of the Month of the Imperium

The Eldest Orphan and Vetch went out, joined by another:
Sriracha Ketchup, Magic-User 2; an exiled translocator (having leveled up in the background since last session.)

Taking the newly-gained information from the Judge of Kings, the party went down to its territory, to the newfound ladderway. After some negotiating with ropes and pitons, the party went down. At the bottom, they found a small chamber leading to a long, low wooden tunnel with an odd ridged pattern on the right side. They heard sounds coming from outside the tunnel, and quickly realized that they were, in fact, inside a long low counter—the ridges were cabinet doors. Stepping out, they encountered some unfamiliar faces: humanoids dressed in huge dirty robes cinched at the face, ankle, and wrist, skeletal appendages emerging, that sloshed like water; and huge suits of welded-together rusty armor carrying tower shields that also sloshed like water. The robed individuals had huge stacks of filthy paperwork they constantly sifted through; the armored tower-shielders did not speak.

Nobody in the party spoke Deep, but after some clever chalk-drawing, the party communicated that they were looking for the Cannibal King, and then Deep-speakers pointed them further into the dungeon. From there, the party discovered a large underground canal; stole some treasure from a shrine; found several huge cylindrical tanks full of eels; met a friendly wraith named Creon; and found some gross little crickets, black with too many legs. In a clever move, Ketchup used telekinesis to lift a full gnashing swarm of eels out of their tank and drop them onto the crickets, causing a two-sided feeding frenzy and buying the party time to run.

From there, the party investigated a little further, raided a shrine and found a map of the dwarves’ camp(!!!), and then headed back up to the surface.

11th Day of the Month of the Imperium

Once again the Eldest Orphan and Vetch went below, this time joined by:
Lord Tarkus Two-Fingers, Magic-User 3; an aspiring necromancer carrying his amber comb and Lagash sapling, still bearing a ghostly right hand with three skeletal fingers but returned from his brief jaunt as a ghost separate from his body.

Dwarf map now in hand, the party went below, straight to the second floor. They: raised some skeletons; experimented with a shrine reading Unkillable,” which seemed to turn a single blow when prayed to; passwall’d into a chamber with a ladder upwards(!) and angry earth elemental; barely managed to defeat the elemental, which had a load of gemstones within; and scrambled up the ladder. It led back to the surface, to the tailor’s shop of Forsaken—three bloody, dusty, heavily armed adventurers bursting out of a basement trapdoor the tailor didn’t know existed gave them a right shock.

Cashing in their gems, Vetch leveled up, becoming Fun-Guy Paparazzo Vetch the Orc-Breaker, in honor of his recent promises to the myconid Ministry.

Hours later, they went below once more, now straight to the dwarf territory. They: snuck through dwarf territory ambushing its denizens, their heavy armor masked by the dwarves’ loud machinery; lost some weapons to dwarf engineers casting shatter; avoided a large ceiling-crusher trap; and discovered the control panel to the conveyor belt that ran through the whole dwarf area, containing options like speed,” direction,” and heat.” Deciding to not alter the belt just yet, the party instead clambered aboard, using it to launch their ambushes.

In the midst of this violence, they: found a very scared dwarf hiding in a tunnel holding a hexagonal key and learned he went below;” questioned some dead dwarves and learned they had a sacred elevator leading down; killed the two dwarf leaders and claimed two more hexagonal keys (along with the leaders’ heads); looted some shrines, including a large free-floating shield shaped like a dwarf’s head, which Vetch claimed; and found the aforementioned sacred elevator, with three hexagonal keyholes, but declined to go down. Instead, they took their winnings and headed back to the surface.

Tarkus leveled up, becoming Lord Tarkus Two-Fingers the Treacherous. The Eldest Orphan leveled up as well, reaching level 5 and becoming The Eldest Orphan of Forsaken for Eternity by Birth yet Alive, and then retired to unlock advanced gear for sale—the Eldest Orphan now runs a new section of the general store, selling things like air bladders, dynamic rope, and chalk.

12th Day of the Month of the Imperium

Sōt, Tarkus, and Ketchup recruited two newcomers and a rookie for the day’s adventure:
Nouh, Fighter 1; an ex-butcher adept, believing himself to be cursed.
Nan the Black, Fighter 1; an ex-smuggler turned burglar, borrowing the phynox hauberk +2 from the community chest.
The Youngest Orphan, Fighter 1; a noble from same orphanage as the Eldest Orphan, recently having inherited most of his stuff.

Deciding to confirm an earlier theory, the party descended down Forsaken’s well, clambering down a rope ladder to a large lake. After deploying their folding boat, they sailed up a waterway they saw earlier, which they eventually confirmed was the same canal that Ketchup saw earlier with Vetch and the Eldest Orphan.

Exploring this watery domain, they: went a short distance up another smaller, branching canal, only for it to descend quickly into a closed pipe; met with one of the large watery skeletal robe-wearers, who insisted they fill out the proper paperwork (the Youngest Orphan speaks Deep, so this was straightforward); found a chamber with the signature blue blanket of a merchant, but no merchant; found a statuary of hollow statues and recovered some treasure from inside a few using ghost-limbs; realized that the canal-pipe they saw earlier must run under some dungeon rooms and hallways; avoided a poison-dart trap; and, by carefully tapping their 10’ poles, discovered an illusory wall.

A hall led past the illusion, leading to a large chamber. Sticky goo thinly coated the floor; at the far side stood a chest. Rather than gamble with whatever this devilry was, Ketchup used their telekinesis to lasso the chest with rope, and the party heaved. At this point, four gelatinous cubes fell from the ceiling and began moving towards the party. Tarkus attempted to inspire fear within them, but failed—instead causing the cubes to positively adore him. Working quickly, the party dragged the chest out and slammed the door shut, barricading it, buying themselves time.

Inside the chest, they found a deal of treasure and several magic items: a seemingly-empty pot, a pink saucy potion, a heavy wooden club, a pink potion, and a red candle inscribed with runes.

The party continued, and discovered a chamber filled with copper coins, tens or hundreds of thousands of them. Immediately, Ketchup began ritually casting teleport, and the party spent the hour carefully stacking copper in the circle. After an hour, they all teleported to the surface with tens of thousands of copper, emerging right outside the inn—at which point the copper pieces surged, forming into a huge bipedal copper-monster! A brutal fight ensued as they hacked off coinage; at the apex, Nan the Black took a giant coppery fist to the head, shattering his skull. Thus ended Nan the Black.

But the party carried the day, and (after being chided by the elderly innkeep for bringing monsters to the tavern) cashed out. Nouh, leveling up twice, became Humble Great-Eared Nouh; the Youngest Orphan, also leveling up twice, became the Youngest Copper Entitled Orphan; Ketchup, leveling up just once, became Sriracha Ketchup Aioli.

13th Day of the Month of the Imperium

Tarkus, Vetch, and the Youngest Orphan went below, grabbing two others:
Old Iron Grip the Dying, Magic-User 3; a veteran illusionist with a peg leg, cast-iron prosthetic hand, and a missing ear, now carrying a load of mushrooms from the myconid territory.
Jim, Magic-User 1; a goblin transmuter carrying a porcelain bow.

Before going below, Tarkus interrogated the dead heads of the lead dwarf engineers, learning some cryptic information about beings called the Titan Mason and the Tectonic Artificer, supposed allies of the Slumbering Clanweaver, the dwarves’ leader.

The party proceeded straight down the tailor-shop dwarf ladder, only to discover that the conveyor belt (which the passage directly connects to) was no longer running, and surged with heat. After the deaths of their lead engineers, the dwarves locked the area down. With some clever reduction from Jim to shrink the slats of the conveyor belt, the party moved forward, only to suddenly run into two dwarf-shaped metallic robots, who claimed they had come from below to investigate what was happening in the dwarf territory. The party convinced the robots to help them, and the robots opened a passageway through the walls, straight to the elevator. Using their hexagonal keys, the party descended.

Now on the third floor, the party found a rusted, broken set of rooms. Cables peeked beneath damaged iron panels; clay and mud coated in the corners. A high-pitched ringing echoed. Pushing deeper, the party: found and looted a shrine; discovered a huge machine-sculpture made from geometric blocks of metal that talked and, when body parts were inserted, transformed them into clay; met some odd misshapen clay-dwarves; failed to negotiate a few times; and discovered a huge room with a very large upright hexagonal prism standing in the center of the room, like a tower, cables feeding into the top and humming with energy. Three hexagonal slots, long as an arm, stood on every other edge of the prism. With some further questioning, they learned that this strange hexagonal column was indeed Naachtun, the Slumbering Clanweaver.

Exploring further, the party: discovered that the metal not-quite-dwarves inhabited one side of the floor while clay not-quite-dwarves the other; found a matched talking machine to the other, this one made of huge slabs of clay, that converted inserted body parts into metal (which took some convincing, along with the help of indigo empathy-mushrooms); and found a strange hovering orb in a room full of cables that the dwarves called a dream.”

Between the two great machines—metal, which turned parts to living clay; and clay, which turned parts to articulated metal—the party acquired several new parts. Vetch got a full metal arm; Old Grip replaced his missing hand and foot with new metal ones; Jim turned his entire body to metal; and the Youngest Orphan split himself down the middle, half-clay and half-metal. The machines took some convincing—the clay-dwarves and metal-dwarves do not like each other—but they managed it.

14th Day of the Month of the Imperium

After some deliberations, Sōt, Tarkus, Old Grip, and Nouh decided to take on the Judge of Kings, the shadowy many-bladed chain-clinking figure beneath the town monument, in a zone that hates light. Tarkus believes that he can take the Judge’s place as lord of the undead—this remains to be seen.

Going down into the dark, they went to the Judge’s maze-like catacombs (the secret monument entrance being quite close to where the Judge resides), and Tarkus asked to be judged. The Judge, drawing close, led Tarkus farther into the dark, glittering blades tracing along Tarkus’s body. The Judge named some of Tarkus’s misdeeds—including naming him an impostor from another world—then attacked. The party lit their lanterns fast, but struggled to maintain them as the Judge flickered in and out of shadow. Now, the party grew worried, as they faced the full wrath of Ny Varberg, Judge of Kings, a grandchild of the dungeon. The Judge’s blades whipped back and forth, materializing in many places, their lights winking out one by one. A golden knife scalped Tarkus, and the necromancer passed out. Realizing their foolishness, the party grabbed Tarkus and hastily retreated back upstairs.

After paying for Tarkus’s medical bills, the party took a different tack. They went down the ladder beneath the general store, to the myconid territory, now filled with a deep green haze. Advancing forward, they: talked to some mushrooms in a fountain in Imperial Common that previously only spoke Mycologue; ran into a giant brain-eating moth named Mothmothmoth,” who attacked them and was slain by Sōt; kept seeing bugs skittering at the edge of their vision; ventured into sleep-inducing blue haze; rescued a long-slumbering former adventurer named Pantaleon; and then realized that green mushrooms containing hallucinogenics, and perhaps some of what they were seeing was not real.

At this point, a being emerged from the fountain, a snake-like man with bright skin, who named himself Wisdom.” Wisdom, slowly extending from the fountain as he spoke, answered many questions: that the Judge of Kings held sapphires in his chest, that truth was written on the walls of the dungeon, and that diamonds were located just through the opposite wall. Wisdom, while very wise, also struggled to get names right, and kept referring to Tarkus as Torkus.” Eventually, the party retreated from the myconid territory to sleep off their possible druggedness, though they still wonder about Wisdom’s words.

That night, back at the inn, Tarkus awoke to a horrifically loud crashing and banging in his right ear, a catastrophic cacophony. After thinking he was perhaps dying, he tried sickle-cursing himself to no avail. After waking the others and trying several other attempts, Sōt eventually grabbed a pair of bellows and reversed them over Tarkus’s ear, at which point the crashing stopped. With some extrication, the party found a tiny pink fluttering insect, which the town magician identified as a brainwig”—a myelin-eating insect that chews through adventurers’ ears to get to their grey matter.

15th Day of the Month of the Imperium

Deciding on a different tactic, Sōt, Tarkus, Old Grip, and Nouh took the main entrance down, heading for the elevator on level 2 that, as they understood it, went to level 5—same as the myconid level—but in a different direction, in territory controlled by many-armed berserkers.

Before reaching the elevator, the party ran into a new merchant named Garbus, Master Armorer, who dressed in many fine clothes and many layers of armor, topped with a huge conical metal helmet.

Post-Garbus, they took the elevator down, to an area with stepped walls and fungal moss growing between the flagstones. They charged out and attacked the two berserkers in front of them, who proved fearsome foes—berserkers grow more deadly as they lose HP. Fighting the initial few, the party stumbled upon a very large chamber, where green torches burned and a huge many-armed figure stood. More berserkers attacked, and the party fought them in tight formation. After defeating the next round, Tarkus sent in his skeletons to attack the huge figure; the figure did not defend itself, just laughed and beckoned the skeletons onwards. The skeletons struck, blood sprayed, and suddenly they all turned on each other, slaughtering each other to a one. The figure laughed all the while, unfazed by the wounds.

Nervous, the party closed the door to that room. They interrogated a dead berserker, and learned the huge figure was Nidaros, the Bloodbound Brigand. Now worried, they only explored a little further—looting a shrine for some pink rage-inducing mushrooms—before returning to the surface.

16th Day of the Month of the Imperium

Tarkus, Vetch, and the Youngest Orphan went below again, aiming to continue their quest below the dwarf’s territory. According to the Harbinger Rock, the prophetic stone just beneath the Forsaken Inn, the party knows that they must awaken Naachtun, or ensure it never wakes again,”

Employing clever use of ghostwalk, they slipped past the dwarves’ super-heated conveyor belt, raided the last few dwarven treasure troves, and took the sacred elevator down. After some negotiation with the clay not-quite-dwarves (who don’t fully trust the Youngest Orphan, being half-clay half-metal), they met with the Clayshaper, the inhumanly tall and elegant maker of these clay dwarves, and thus their leader. After more negotiation—demonstrating Vetch’s magical freefloating dwarven shield, the Youngest Orphan’s half-and-half nature, promises to keep faith and cut down those who would break oaths—the Clayshaper reached inside itself, produced an elongated hexagonal prism of strange metal (about the right size for the slots on the side of the Clanweaver), and then dissolved into wet clay. Amidst the clay, mechanical bits of machinery clattered, wet and disused.

Slightly shaken at the sudden dissolution but feeling more confident, the party crossed to the other side of the floor and made the same deal with the leader of the metal not-quite-dwarves, called the Ironmonger. With the same assurances and promises, the equally tall-and-elegant Ironmonger produced another hexagonal prism, and then collapsed into iron parts—parts that, as they cracked, spilled out wet clay.

Neither Ironmonger nor Clayshaper knew where the third piece was. The party searched the floor, finding many treasures and secrets—Ekallatum’s muffin, which reverses gravity; a winged black cat held in stasis; a scroll in an unknown language—but no piece.

On their way back up, the three once again demonstrated their devotion to the dwarvish cause—magic shield, hexagonal keys to the elevator, secrets from below, half-clay half-metal forms—and made a deal with the dwarves: recover the third piece from the orcs, where the party believed in awaited, in exchange for safe passage in and out of dwarf territory.

With the treasure gained, Tarkus leveled up, becoming Dark Lord Tarkus Two-Fingers the Treacherous. He opted not to retire (and thus upgrade the company), instead sticking around to fulfill a grander scheme.

17th Day of the Month of the Imperium

The Youngest Orphan, Old Grip, Nouh, and Jim went down, bringing with them a newcomer:
Skira-na-Nog, Magic-User 1; a goblin conjurer fresh from the dungeons.

The party went back down the well in the center of town, to the watery dungeons below. They immediately ran into Curus, Master Peddler, buying several items: an indelible pen, a length of animate rope (which Nouh named Galvina”), four pairs of magic snails, and a portable hole.

Exploring further up-canal, the party found a little chamber with an ornate sarcophagus with the name Creon” written on it. While a few of the party had met Creon the ghost and found him friendly, they opted for treasure and looted the tomb, including Creon’s cursed silver greataxe.

Overcome with excitement at the portable hole, Grip persuaded the party to return to the surface (if only to break the curse on Creon’s axe) and then go back to the first floor to suss out additional hidden chambers using the hole. They did this for a time with little success; the rookies were growing bored, so Grip shelved his desire for total map-knowledge and they returned to the third floor.

There, they: met Huntus, Master-at-Arms, a weapons merchant, but didn’t buy anything; ran into another watery robe-clad clerk and were registered once again; ran afoul of Creon the ghost, now very angry, but slew him using the axe he wielded in life and a single lucky silver coin toss from Skira-na-Nog; and, poking around with the portable hole (Wall inspections!”), found a hidden room with a chest and a grille on the floor. Looking further, the party realized the grill led to one of the canal-pipes below, the pipes that lace throughout this whole part of the dungeon. Opening the chest, they heard a snap, the grille closed suddenly, and water began to fill the room through three new holes. Had the party not accessed this room via a portable hole and instead through the pipe, they would have been in serious trouble. But they weren’t, so they happily looted as water rose to their ankles, and then hightailed it out.

With the winnings, three party members leveled up: the Youngest Orphan became the Youngest Entitled Copper Deep Orphan; Jim became Chrome Jim (in honor of his metal body); and Skira-na-Nog became Princess Skira-na-Nog.

18th Day of the Month of the Imperium

Two newcomers, both duelists, fought to the death outside the Inn. Their names were Tiresias and Gazal—for a moment, it seemed as though Gazal would win, severing Tiresias’s wrist and hacking off an ear, but then Tiresias swapped to his left hand and scalped Gazal, leaving him to die in the mud.

Stepping gingerly around the body, Old Grip and Nouh went below, bringing with them another rookie:
Ohokh, Fighter 1; a goblin soldier, eager to join the winning team.

Grip, determined to read a spell off a dead comrade’s old spellbook, checked every merchant location he knew of. Merchants in the dungeon come and go, each selling different items. After a quick run down to level 2 yielded only Garbus, Master Armorer, they headed down the well once more, and there found Textus, Master Scrivener, who sells scrolls and translations. Grip paid Textus to translate comprehend languages into Elvish (which Grip reads and casts in), and then returned to the surface triumphant, suddenly learning many new spells.

Nouh, meanwhile, continued to teach Galvina, his animate rope, new tricks. Ohokh, bemused, watched as the two veterans engaged in their strange practices.

19th Day of the Month of the Imperium

Grip, Nouh, and Ohokh went to the third floor, exploring deeper, near where the others had found gelatinous cubes and mountains of copper. They: skipped a few hallways using the portable hole; met a large octopedal automaton, who served something called the Eight Tombs; fed the automaton an indigo empathy mushroom, causing it to feel feelings for the first time and have an existential crisis; discovered access to a water pipe via a fountain; found an armory full of giant snails that use helmets as shells, like hermit crabs; fled from a gelatinous cube; and found a shrine in a metal-paneled room, which, upon opening the altar, sent an electric hum throughout the room.

A great deal of planning and options ensued; the portable hole was the only means of access to this room. After flicking some coins in and seeing them arc with lightning, Nouh decided to dual-wield backpacks, shuffle in on a bedroll, and load the coins that way. As this happened, however, the gelatinous cube returned. Thinking quickly, the party grabbed a length of chain, jammed one end into the cube, fed the other through the portable hole to the electrified room, and dropped it. Lightning ripped across the chain, arcing across space, and detonated the cube. As electricity continued to thrum and the chain fell, however, it began to singe the black silk of the portable hole—the party almost panicked, but managed to save the hole with only a few singes (and recover a great deal of treasure).

20th Day of the Month of the Imperium

Sōt, the Youngest Orphan, Nouh, and Ohokh led an expedition down, joined by two others:
Snuffet the Twisted Pointer, Magic-User 3; long-absent but now returned. A transmuter, Snuffet’s hat bears a feather of Hieracon, which points towards danger.
Lady Thiana, Fighter 1; a new recruit, an old ally of Vetch’s, borrowing his magic floating dwarf shield and wielding two others for absurdly high armor.

Urged on by the Orphan’s hunch that the orcs held the last piece of the Slumbering Clanweaver, they set out to destroy the orcs. They went down to the second level and pushed deep into orc territory, ambushing a few, only to find themselves suddenly outnumbered. Orcs regenerate, and keep large hound-like collections of mismatched spawn matter as shock troops—roiling morasses of limbs, teeth, calcified bone, and hunger.

They portable hole’d into a secret chamber, nearly fell down a trapdoor, and began stealing treasure, but the orcs knew of this way (it was their treasure) and the assault continued. Panicking slightly—Sōt lost a foot to an orc magician’s spell—the party retreated. Snuffet used perspectival shift to enlarge a chunk of flesh to bar one door, but the orcspawn kept eating, and a party of orcs blocked the other way. Trapped, Ohokh attempted to negotiate, but it broke down; eventually, the Youngest Orphan used a fireball from the necklace of fireballs inherited from the Eldest Orphan to wipe out the orcs, and the party retreated back to the surface.

With the treasure gained, three party members leveled up: Ohokh became Ohokh the Spear; Nouh became Abu-Habal Humble Great-Eared Nouh; and Sōt, reaching level 5, became Sōt III, Butcher of Bugs, Roller of Rugs, Squandering Hugs, Home & Garden Department—but he opted not to retire (and thus upgrade the company), instead staying on the roster (at least after getting a prosthetic foot fit).

21st Day of the Month of the Imperium

A mighty party assembled to deal with the orcs: Sōt (F5), Tarkus (M-U5), the Youngest Orphan (F4), Vetch (F4), Nouh (F4), and Snuffet (M-U3).

They took an alternate path to orc territory, following a series of secret passageways near the dwarves. In their explorations, the party had recovered several maps, and they believed they held all of the maps of orc territory. Combined with Snuffet’s feather of Hieracon to point towards danger, it proved a fast path forward. They fought a few orcs, looted a few small hauls, and beelined for the leader of the orcs. Other than a brief run-in with an unexpected fire elemental (defeated via a droplet of water expanded with perspectival shift), they advanced forwards rapidly. Tarkus raised many corpses along the way, amassing a small army of undead to serve him.

After less than an hour, they emerged into a huge chamber: blood, offal, and twitching muscle coursed across the ground; orc magicians covered in ritual scars stood by. In the center sat a huge mass of flesh, some 20’ in diameter, blue-green like orcs, covered in appendages and wounds. Glittering chains draped across its form, jewels winking in the apertures. Periodically, an orc would emerge from a wound or aperture, fully-formed. This is Telja, the Allmother Brood, creator of the regenerative orcs. After a brief discussion in which the Allmother mentioned her hatred for other factions (and a briefly-considered option of joining her), a battle commenced!

Tarkus threw waves of undead forward, doing tremendous damage to the Allmother and carving her body to pieces, but her flesh re-knitted itself. Orcs began to crawl from the wounds, naked and bloody but full of fury, tearing the skeletons aparts. The fighters charged forward, hacking and slashing, but still the Allmother lived. Her claws gnashed and scythed even as they cut them apart, the skeletons and zombies began to die, more orcs crawled out of the offal, and the fight wore on.

The scarified orcs, the mages, suddenly returned, bringing with them two huge orc-giants, each standing 15’ high. Realizing that orcs thrive on attrition and that the Allmother’s flesh still healed, they opted for a new plan: they doused as much of her form as they could in oil, spilling it everywhere, then fled. As the orc-giants closed in, the Youngest Orphan threw his last fireball from the necklace, they slammed the door shut, and the room went up in a blast of flame.

When the smoke cleared, the giants still stood, but all others lay still. The fighters quickly dispatched the giants, and the party sifted through the burnt gore. They found a great deal of treasure and loot, including many valuable metals and machinery stolen from the dwarves—but no hexagonal prism. However, as they stood in the defeated remains of the Allmother, changes wrought themselves in their flesh: the party grew thick, broad, and strong; missing parts regrew as orcish parts, like Sōt’s recently-lost foot and long-lost ear; the start of new limbs emerged from their sides. The Youngest Orphan, half-metal and half-clay, shed his entire form to emerge as a whole new orc.

To carry all the treasure back, Tarkus raised more corpses, including the orc-giants, to lug it to the surface. After a long trek back past many orcs struck with fear and confusion, they returned home, flush with treasure.

Where does the last piece of the Slumbering Clanweaver lie? What lies in the steel-paneled chambers on the third floor? What secrets yet await?

Find out next time (hopefully sooner than the last!)

June 18, 2024